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Get brewing: New law allows Florida distilleries to produce more, sell widely

Veronica Brezina

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Photo by Jack Harner on Unsplash

Florida distilleries can now sell their products more widely thanks to a new law that eliminates hurdles in the industry. 

On June 29, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 46, which eases restrictions for licensed craft distilleries in Florida. It allows breweries to eliminate production caps, which means they can sell drinks more widely with face-to-face transactions. 

The bill was proposed by Sen. Travis Hutson (R), who represents St. Johns, Flagler and part of Volusia County. Hutson reportedly said that the bill would help level the playing field for Florida’s craft distilleries, who compete against distilleries in other states that have already lessened their restrictions.

Distilleries can churn out 250,000 gallons annually – more than three times the previous limit of 75,000 gallons per year. The lift is expected to greatly impact the 60-plus distilleries in the state. Distilleries and breweries are a huge part of St. Pete’s small business identity.

The law allows distilleries to sell more of their products to consumers by the drink or packages, which can be sold in a range of places such as farmer’s markets, festivals, and indoor entertainment venues. The drinks can also be mixed drinks. 

The allowance for local distilleries and breweries to sell in a different setting would create a new revenue stream, which is critical for many especially given the Covid-19 pandemic’s toll on the local economy. 

The law also introduces new agriculture measures to aid in building a stronger relationship between distilleries and farmers. 

Starting in 2026, at least 60% of a craft distillery’s total finished branded product would be distilled in the state, and contain one or more agricultural products grown in Florida. 

If a craft distillery is wanting to use an entertainment venue to sell products, the qualifying venue – among other requirements – must be near bicycle or pedestrian trails and mass transit routes.

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