Louis J. Terminello, Esq.
I’m pleased to announce a litigation victory for the Hospitality, Alcohol & Leisure Group at Greenspoon Marder.
In sum, the case involved La Galere Markets (LGM’s) plan to sell alcoholic beverages at its mini-mart through automated dispensing machines (ADM’s). The mini-mart was located in a residential building and through the use of various and stringent security measures including key fobs and prior registration to verify age, only residents of the building could access the market and make purchases of alcoholic beverages from the specialized dispensing machines. A full set of biometric security measures were put in place to ensure 0.0% chance of underage drinkers having access to alcohol, stated the owner/developer of the concept.
In an abundance of caution LGM, represented by Greenspoon Marder, requested a declaratory statement from the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (DABT) asking for its guidance on the permissibility of the automated sales of alcoholic beverages and to make a determination that its sales plan complied with Florida Beverage Law.
Various large and powerful retailer and alcohol beverage supplier associations intervened and after a public hearing DABT issued a final order finding that the Florida legislature had not authorized the sale of alcoholic beverages through automated dispensing machines. DABT cited ten (10) statutory references in support of its’ final order.
LGM, represented by the Hospitality, Alcohol & Leisure Group at Greenspoon Marder, appealed to the First District Court of Appeal.
In an opinion dated January 31, 2020, the court rejected virtually every argument posited by DABT and the interveners and stated that “nothing in the plain language of the statutes cited by the Division (DABT) prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages through automated dispensing machines”, representing a clear and decisive win for LGM and Greenspoon Marder.
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