The Florida Retail Federation announces that we were successful in convincing the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to initiate the rule-making process with the goal of developing rules that will set forth the standards and criteria by which the Division will assess whether license applications seeking approval pursuant to section 561.221(2) (known as the “tourism exception”), Florida Statutes, address and satisfy the standards in that statute. Given this turn of events we will withdraw our administrative petition against the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
We filed the administrative petition in order to seek clarity on the tourism exception to the beverage license law. The rule-making process gives us this opportunity; it is an affirmative step towards clarifying how this statute is being applied. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Department and all impacted parties through the rule-making process. At the same time, the legislature is evaluating beverage industry concerns and hearing bills regarding industry licensure and regulation.
Both the legislative and rule-making processes offer the opportunity for open communication and collaboration. We are pleased to be an active participant on both of these fronts, and we will work toward a solution that considers the impact to all beverage industry licensees.
Update 1-14-2015 - Yesterday, several articles were published by members of the media regarding the Florida Retail Federation's long-held position on maintaining a structured system of alcoholic beverage sales. There is now public confusion over the steps which Florida Retail, on behalf of its Retail Beverage Council, has taken to initiate a rule-making process with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
FRF and its members see a need to clarify DBPR's requirements which allow certain retailers to be granted alcohol licenses based on their ability to boost tourism numbers. This type of license was initially created solely for amusement parks, attraction venues, and other locations that bring in tourists and provide tax dollars to the state. Since then, the marketplace has changed, and DBPR is now issuing licenses to breweries with tasting rooms based on the tourism exception.
"We are simply urging the Department to clarify its standards for this specific tourism-related alcohol license via the standard rule-making process," said Rick McAllister, president and CEO of FRF. "The Florida Beverage Council, an entity of FRF, is a leader of the beverage industry and will work alongside the state of Florida in order to achieve fair and appropriate guidelines."
Original Sent 1-12-2015 - On Friday, January 9, the Florida Retail Federation filed a petition for rule-making on behalf of the Retail Beverage Council in order to ensure clear guidelines are established for a specific type of beverage license administered through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. It is a priority of RBC to protect the Florida alcohol licensing system, which is in the best interest of the retailer and consumer. Currently, the state of Florida is issuing licenses to breweries with tasting rooms based on the tourism exception, which was initially created solely for attraction venues and amusement parks, locations that contribute significantly through job creation, tax dollars, and travel spending. We are asking the Department to clarify their requirements for the tourism-related alcohol license based on the changing marketplace.
If you have any questions regarding our position on this issue, please do not hesitate to contact Randy Miller or Samantha Padgett at (850) 222-4082.