MIAMI, FL – February 3, 2020 – A team of Greenspoon Marder attorneys prevailed on behalf of client La Galere Market in successfully reversing the State of Florida’s position on automated beer and wine dispensing machines. Led by Louis J. Terminello, Chair of the firm’s Hospitality, Alcohol and Leisure Industry Group, and Senior Counsel, Michael Martinez, the case involved La Galere Market’s (LGM’s) plan to sell alcoholic beverages at its mini-mart through automated dispensing machines (ADMs). The mini-mart was located in a residential building, and through the use of various security measures including key fobs, prior registration to verify age and point of sale biometric verification only adult residents of the building could access the market and make purchases of alcoholic beverages.
In an abundance of caution, LGM 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 very large and powerful industry associations opposed LGM’s petition to the Division and intervened in the proceedings. After a public hearing, DABT issued a final order finding that the Florida legislature had not authorized the sale of alcoholic beverages through ADMs. DABT cited ten (10) statutory references in support of its final order.
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.
“This opinion affects not only the hospitality industry by now opening the door to safe and controlled sale of alcohol using automated dispensing machines, but also permits condominium developers and association operators to offer another amenity to its residents,” said Louis J. Terminello.
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