Bottoms up: Florida liquor license drawing to be held

The quota liquor license is highly sought after and can be quite lucrative.

Photo by Taylor Rooney on Unsplash

Florida officials have opened lottery drawing entries for its lucrative and coveted "quota liquor license," a process that allows a small number of individuals or businesses to obtain a permit to sell beer, wine, and liquor.

Four licenses became available last month in Palm Beach County, three in Broward, and two in Miami-Dade with others available across the state. None are available in Monroe County.

The only way to obtain one is through the lottery, or by purchasing it from someone who has an existing one. The drawing for the 2022 entries is actually this morning

It’s a highly sought-after alcohol license and any individual or business can join the lottery. It allows beer, wine, and liquor to be sold at a retail level.

So they could be sold in package form at a store, or sold for on-site consumption at a restaurant or bar.

The license can be used anywhere in the county, where zoning allows. They don’t have the same restrictions as most beverage licenses, which only allow the sales of beer and wine.

Thomas Philpot is a former director and chief of staff of the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco. He said that one of the reasons this unique license is highly valued is that they don’t have other attachments connected to them.

“Many of the licenses that allow for liquor sales in Florida, in addition to beer and wine that are not quota licenses … usually have some special qualifications attached to them, either based on the type of entity or type of premises that a business is operating or certain qualifications associated with how they operate.”

Quota licenses are only available every time a county’s population increases by 7,500. The division uses this metric to determine if one license or multiple should be made available.

The quota liquor license is highly sought after and can be quite lucrative.

Philpot says depending on demand in a county, the number of licenses people are offering for sale, and the number of people who are looking for one, they can sell for a lot of money.

He says current markets indicate that “in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County, they're probably in the $300,000 to $400,000 range.”

Applicants can fill out one entry form per county with an available license. The application fee is $100 dollars per entry. The deadline is October 4.

They can only be used in the county where they were made available.

If you do manage to win one, you must pass a background check and pay the state $10,750 before it can be activated. Afterward, a yearly fee must be paid for the license.

“I think there's an attraction to the drawing process from all angles,” Philpot says. Folks that are looking to set up a business and then obviously folks who recognize there's value attached to the license … And I think there's a good mix probably of those audiences that participate in the drawing each year.”

This story is published as part of a collaboration between City & State Florida and WLRN NewsNatu Tweh is WLRN's Morning Edition Producer. He also reports on general news out of South Florida. 

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