Spotlight: Importers and Exporters
The Spotlight series is intended to provide helpful information about important business and professional licenses issued by the State of Florida. This installation is on the state licenses required to import or export alcoholic beverages in Florida. More information on the federal licensure process can be found here.
What is a special importer license?
A special importer license (IMPR) allows the importing of alcoholic beverages from outside of the country into Florida.
What is a special exporter license?
The special exporter license (MEXP) is appropriate for parties who sell alcoholic beverages to persons for use outside the state. This category includes a ship’s chandler and duty-free shop.
How do I qualify?
Applicants for either license type must meet Florida’s moral character requirements, submit fingerprints for a Level II background check, and answer questions regarding their arrest history.
Each licensed exporter must have an office designated as its principal office within the state and may maintain branch offices within or outside the state. Access to all business premises, inventories, and records, including all records of transporters, warehouses, and exporters required by the Federal Government must be provided to authorized Division employees for the purpose of conducting audits and inventories.
How much does it cost?
The annual fee for a special importer license is $500. There is no fee associated with the special exporter license.
What else do I need to know?
An importer may act as a middleman between the manufacturer and a Florida wholesale distributor. After the product is imported, the wholesale distributor will then take possession of the product and sell it to the retail tier. However, the importer's license does not allow for sales to be made directly to vendors. Importers are also subject to the tied house evil restrictions of section 561.42 of the Florida Statutes. Specifically, licensed importers shall have no direct or indirect affiliation with any licensed vendor in Florida.
Also, importers should be aware of the periodic filing requirements. Per rule 61A-4.028, anyone bringing or delivering into the State of Florida any alcoholic beverages in an amount exceeding one standard U.S. gallon is required to report such deliveries to the Division. The name of the shipper and consignee, the brand and type of beverages being delivered, and the quantity of alcoholic beverages being delivered must be disclosed.