Glover Law

HB 261: Beverage Law

Full Details from the Florida Legislature

This bill limits the extent of relationships between alcoholic beverage vendors and manufacturers, distributors, importers, primary American source of supplies, brand owners or registrants, brokers, sales agents and sales people (“industry members”).  Specifically, the bill adds language that clarifies whether certain types of financial aid or assistance to vendors is permissible.

The bill clarifies that the referenced industry members cannot provide any vehicles, equipment, furniture, fixtures, signs, supplies, credit, fees, slotting fees of any kind, advertising, services, or gifts or loans of money or property, with the exception of barrels, bottles, or containers necessary for transporting beverages, certain advertising materials, and lines of credit for liquors sold under certain circumstances. Industry members who regularly sell merchandise to vendors would be able to do so without violating the proposed provisions if (a) the sale or purchase is not less than the fair market value of the merchandise;  (b) the sale or purchase is not combined with any sale or purchase of alcoholic beverages; (c) such sale or purchase is separately itemized from the sale of purchase of alcoholic beverages; and (d) both the seller and purchaser maintain records or any such sale or purchase including price and associated conditions. This limitation would not prohibit the vendors from holding ownership of any brand, brand name, or label of alcoholic beverages.

A new subsection of FS 561.42 would allow certain vendors to enter into brand-naming rights and associated cooperative advertising agreements under circumstances. Among several other factors, the vendor’s premises must be located within a theme park complex consisting of at least 25 contiguous acres owned and controlled by the same business entity. Importantly, the vendor would be barred from granting preferential treatment to its brand partners.

This bill would also regulate what a licensed vendor is permitted to hang in his or her licensed premises.  The language would allow only one one electric, neon or similar sign that requires a power source in the window. A vendor would be able to display window painting, decalcomania signs, posters, placards and other advertising material advertising the brand or brands of alcohol sold by him or her. A vendor would not be able to exclusively advertise the product of any one brand of alcoholic beverages. Industry members may give, lend furnish or sell to one of its vendors any of the advertising material authorized to be displayed on the licensed premises.

The bill also would allow industry members to rent, loan without charge for an indefinite duration, or sell durable advertising specialties, subject to certain conditions. Manufacturers are prohibited from soliciting or receiving any portion or payment from manufacturers to vendors.  A manufacturer who violates this prohibition is subject to civil penalties no greater than the financial value of a brand-naming rights agreement or revocation of license subjection to the discretion of The Division. The bill also defines the terms “merchandise”, “decalcomania”, and “negotiated at arm’s length”.

Please note that this summary is based on the initially filed version of the bill. Click the Full Details link for updates on amendments, votes, etc.