March 13th, 2006
We’ve received a number or inquiries about the dry counties in Florida. Starting with a little background…
In the new Wine Shipment into Florida page, you will find the following text:
Pursuant to Section 568.02, Florida Statutes, it is unlawful to sell alcoholic beverages containing more than 6.243 percent of alcohol by volume in a county that has voted against the sale of intoxicating liquors, wines, or beers. There are currently five Florida Counties to which this law is applicable: Lafayette, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee and Washington.
Taking a closer look at Section 568.05, we find this:
568.05 Penalty.–Any person who sells, or causes to be sold, any intoxicating liquors, wines, or beer in any county that has voted against the sale of intoxicating liquors, wines, or beer, or who keeps or possesses in any such county any intoxicating liquors, wines, or beer with intent to sell or dispose of same unlawfully, or who keeps or maintains in any such county a place where intoxicating liquors, wines, or beer are sold, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Many have questioned if this statute would hold if the sale technically takes place in California or any other state before the wine is shipped to a dry county. We contacted the Florida authorities about this question and got the following as a reply – “I would not ship to dry counties. You may refer to Florida Statutes Chapter 568 for details.” Sounds pretty clear to me.
Keep in mind that Florida will likely establish permanent legislation in the coming months. Let’s hope they address this issue more specifically in the new regulations.