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  • Writer's pictureJonathon W. Baker, Esq.

Part II - Intro to Retail Alcoholic Beverage Licensing in Florida - Specialty Liquor Licenses

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

**This article is part of an ongoing series designed to introduce readers to retail alcoholic beverage licensing in Florida. Part I – “Intro to Retail Alcoholic Beverage Licensing in Florida” and related articles can be viewed on my Blog.

In my first post in this series, Intro to Retail Alcoholic Beverage Licensing in Florida, available on the Baker Law, P.A. Blog, I explained the difference between the three main categories of vendor licenses – quota liquor licenses, beer & wine licenses, and specialty liquor licenses. Today, let's take a closer look at the third group – specialty liquor licenses.

Specialty liquor licenses are available for a wide range of businesses in Florida and can save you a lot of money if your business qualifies. Qualification involves meeting certain requirements for the various business types for which specialty licenses are available. Some of the business types include restaurants, hotels, bowling alleys, boat charters, tennis clubs, golf clubs and religious organizations (sacramental wine permits).

Most of the requirements to qualify for a specialty liquor license are codified in the Florida Statutes, such as F.S. §561.20(2)(c), which states that a bowling alley with 12 or more lanes and all necessary equipment to operate them can serve beer, wine and liquor for consumption on the premises with a Special Bowling Alley (SBX) liquor license. However, some cities and/or counties have their own General Laws of Local Application and/or Special Acts which can modify the general statutory requirements, so it is important to research your location’s specific regulations before deciding on a course of action for proper alcoholic beverage licensing.

Regardless of the statutory or local laws and regulations for specialty liquor licenses, the general qualifications for applicants of any alcoholic beverage license still apply, and one must be aware of zoning restrictions such as distance separations for their specific location.

I hope this post has helped introduce you to specialty liquor licensing in Florida. Obtaining the proper and most cost-effective alcoholic beverage license can be a tricky process, so it is always best to consult an experienced attorney before spending time and money applying for a license that may not work for your business. Contact Baker Law, P.A. today for any questions about liquor licensing, food service licensing, hemp/CBD retail licensing, tobacco licensing and much more.

About the Author

Jonathon W. Baker, Esq., President of Baker Law, P.A., has extensive experience in business, licensing and regulatory law at the local, state and federal levels. He routinely offers corporate counsel and represents clients in all stages of licensing for alcoholic beverages, food service, hemp/CBD and many other varieties of licensing. Jonathon also handles complex transactional matters such as stock purchase and assets acquisition agreements. He has years of experience representing borrowers and lenders in liquor license financing and foreclosure litigation. Outside of his law practice, Jonathon is a trained musician who has played multiple styles of guitar for over 20 years and also enjoys exercising and spending time on Florida's sunny beaches.

The information provided on this website and any related communications does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. Before making any licensing decisions, please consult an attorney. You can also contact the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco at This website may contain links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; Baker Law, P.A., its owners, agents and/or representatives do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

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