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  • Jonathon W. Baker, Esq.

New Specialty Liquor Licenses Allowed for Certain Orlando Restaurants

On June 29, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1647 (view the text of the bill here), allowing smaller restaurants in the newly designated "Orlando Main Street Small Restaurant Incentive Area" to obtain a specialty liquor license allowing the sale of beer, wine and liquor.

I touched on specialty liquor licenses in my previous blog post in February 2021. Briefly, the State of Florida allows for certain categories of businesses to qualify for the sale of hard liquor without the need to purchase a costly quota liquor license. Restaurants are one of those categories, and according to Florida Statutes §561.20(2)(a)(4), a food service establishment may qualify if, among other things, it "has 2,500 square feet of service area, is equipped to serve meals to 150 persons at one time, and derives at least 51 percent of its gross food and beverage revenue from the sale of food and nonalcoholic beverages during the first 60-day operating period and each 12-month operating period thereafter."


The new legislation specific to the Orlando Main Street Small Restaurant Incentive Area lowers the square footage requirement to 1,800 and requires that the restaurant be equipped to serve meals to 80 persons at one time. The other requirements remain the same.


As hospitality businesses throughout Florida continue to recover from the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new law should help revitalize Orlando Main Streets when they need it most. 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.

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