L ouis Terminello, Esq.
Are you a beer brand owner looking to enter the Florida market? Prior to introduction of any beer brand into the market place there are various statutory requirements which must be satisfied. One long-standing requirement can be found in Florida Statute 563.06 (1) which requires:
“All taxable malt beverages packaged in individual containers possessed by any person in the state for the purpose of sale or resale in the state, except operators of railroads, sleeping cars, steamships, buses, and airplanes engaged in interstate commerce and licensed under this section, shall have imprinted thereon in clearly legible fashion by any permanent method the word “Florida” or “FL” and no other state name or abbreviation of any state name in not less than 8-point type. The word “Florida” or “FL” shall appear first or last, if imprinted in conjunction with any manufacturer’s code. A facsimile of the imprinting and its location as it will appear on the individual container shall be submitted to the division for approval.”
For many years it was common to walk the beer isle of the local grocery store to find bottle after bottle with the initials “FL” imprinted on them. Clearly, for many producers, particularly smaller ones, this was indeed a barrier to entry. As a result, many brands voluntary stayed off the Florida retail shelf due to the cost of creating a dedicated Florida label. For this reason, among others, consumer choice suffered.
The above said, beer producers caught on to additional language in Florida Statute 563.06 which created an exception to the imprinting requirement. If the appropriate exemption application is filed (and approved by DABT) whereby the producer can show a coding system that establishes where a batch was brewed and to whom it was shipped in Florida (among other things) an exemption may be granted from the imprint requirement.
The request for exemption must be filed prior to the shipment of the beer brand into the state. If the “FL” imprint is not present and no exemption has been granted, brand registration will not be possible. It is important to note that any beer brand that enters the State of Florida that does not satisfy the above requirements is in violation of the law and all product is susceptible to confiscation by the state.
The Upper Tier Industry sub-practice group at Greenspoon Marder can assist malt beverage brand owners with all aspects on brand introduction in the State of Florida, across the country, and provide guidance with federal malt beverage regulatory requirements.
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