As we’re getting prepared for Florida’s 2019 state legislative session, we're seeing the final proposals that’ll be considered as it gets going this week. One that’s bound to gain some attention is the beverage law, AKA the booze bill, that’s my nickname for it.
CS/SB 220: Beverage Law - GENERAL BILL by Commerce and Tourism; Brandes; (CO-INTRODUCERS) Stewart - Beverage Law; Repealing provisions relating to limitations on the size of individual wine containers and the size of individual cider containers; revising provisions that authorize a restaurant to allow patrons to remove partially consumed bottles of wine from a restaurant for off-premises consumption; providing that it is unlawful to transfer a distillery license, or ownership in a distillery license, for certain distilleries to certain individuals or entities, etc.
As it indicates, the first and biggest impact to you might be the new-found liberty, should this pass, to take bottles of unfinished wine home with you from restaurants and wineries. I can’t say that finishing them is generally a problem but then again it's not ideal if you’re planning to drive. A consideration is whether you risk having another drink that maybe isn’t the best idea or leaving it behind which you don’t want to do. That’s one example. The other is simply not ordering what you’d otherwise order because of your concern to be behind the wheel.
You can make the economic case in addition to the pragmatic one. But of course, that’s just what you order while you’re out. The biggest benefit of all would likely come in the form of what tourists might order from distillers along with wineries and craft brewers should this become law. Current Florida law doesn’t allow out-of-state direct sales from distillers. This law would remove those prohibitions as well. Given the record tourism our state produces, the more opportunity for more sales direct to consumers out-of-state after they’ve left the better it is for our economy.
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