Liquor Import Licenses: Florida and Federal Liquor Import License and Brand Registrations

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Permit and Approval Process

Acquiring the permits and approvals for importation of alcoholic beverages into the United States is a multi-stage process involving both Federal and State agencies.

Companies that want to import alcoholic beverages into the United States require an approved Importer Permit prior to beginning operations. Operators need to plan on the approval process taking three months or longer. The approval time varies based upon the number of applications that the bureau is processing at any time.

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval is required.  The product manufacturer from which the importer is acquiring the alcoholic product must be registered with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  It is the importer’s duty to ensure FDA registration.  The importer must provide the FDA with advanced notice of products import prior to actual importation.

Federal brand label approval is required by the federal Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).  The process time is generally up to three weeks.  The process involves submitting true and correct actual label examples and the label examples must adhere to the TTB rules on labels.  These rules pertain to legibility, mandatory information, contrasting background, vintage rules, date rules, alcohol content rules, and class of product rules.  Once the label is approved, certain items on the label may be amended, or omitted if the alterations fall within TTB’s list of allowable changes. The label approval process ensures the products are labeled according to Federal laws and regulations before being introduced to the US market.

Although importers are no longer required to pay Special Occupational Taxes, importers are required to file a tax registration prior to beginning import operations. Importers must pay all applicable Federal excise taxes and duties to U.S. Customs.

Florida Liquor Import License and Liquor Brand Registration in Florida

The liquor license landscape in Florida can be difficult to navigate while under the burden of trying to launch, manage, and market your liquor brand, beer or wine company.  Similar to Federal licenses and approvals you will require a Florida Liquor import license, and Florida liquor brand label approval.  However, the Florida importer license for alcoholic beverages does not allow for you to sell alcoholic products directly to retailers or consumers. Florida adheres to “The Three Tier Liquor System.”  This requires a federally and state licensed Florida importer sell to a Florida licensed liquor distributor.  The distributor may only sell to Florida state licensed liquor retailers.  A retailer in possession of an active and in good standing Florida liquor license may sell to the consumer.  As explained, there are separate licenses that apply to each circumstance.

Failure to adhere to these requirements could be detrimental to your business, and result in hefty fines, other penalties, or revocation of your license to sell liquor in Florida.

Does all this sound a bit daunting?

Don’t worry. Our Federal liquor license lawyers serve clients in Palm Beach County, Broward County, Miami Dade County, and throughout Florida.

We can help.

If you need assistance obtaining federal liquor brand approval, federal liquor label approval, liquor brand label approval in Florida, or simply have questions about the Federal importer license approval process, or Florida liquor importer approval process, please contact us.

We want to hear your story and share ours.

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