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Another brick out of the “Liquor Wall”

While prohibition ended in 1933, a different kind of ban in Florida has continued since the Great Depression. Liquor sold in the Sunshine State cannot share shelves with groceries and other retail goods.

While the effort towards the building of “a wall” rises, the “Liquor Wall” may come tumbling down. Two bills are working their way through both houses of the Florida legislature.

For decades, retail giants such as WalMart and Target who want to stock spirits in their stores have faced off against Publix and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits who enjoy stand-alone liquor stores as part of their blueprints.

Gas stations have also joined the battle get into the booze business, providing state residents the chance to enjoy true “one-stop shopping.”

Opponents decry the damage done to small liquor store businesses and the possible loss of jobs. Minors can get their hands on alcohol easier while adults will be more tempted to “impulse-buy” their alcohol.

Technology may play a role in the decision. One representative cites the growth of app-based home liquor delivery services having a much larger impact on the fate of different businesses. A store’s size, high-profile name, or convenient location will likely play less of a role for consumers.

Proposed amendments include staggering the repeal over several years, prohibiting licensing of new package stores located within 1,000 feet of schools, and requiring the display of small bottles behind counters.

A vote on HB 81 was delayed in the house due to a provision in the Senate bill (SB 106) that limits gas stations receiving liquor licenses to 10,000 square feet and above.

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