Rep. Toby Overdorf, a Palm City Republican, is sponsoring legislation allowing establishments with an alcohol license to sell mixed drinks and frozen cocktails containing alcohol to-go.
State rules barred that practice prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the outbreak, state officials made a temporary change. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, in partnership with Gov. Ron DeSantis, revised a rule to allow establishments to offer alcoholic drinks. State officials eventually expanded that authority, permitting mixed drinks as well.
But those regulations are not yet enshrined in state law. The temporary allowance would end when the state’s COVID-19 state of emergency ends. Overdorf’s bill (HB 449) would change that.
A frozen drink is defined as “an iced, flavored alcoholic beverage made with a blender or dispensed from a frozen drink machine.” Mixed drinks are beverages “made with one or more types of liquor combined with one or more other ingredients, which is usually shaken or stirred.”
The frozen and mixed drinks would still need to be sealed. Normal rules about drinking in public and open containers would still apply wherever they are in effect.
The shift would be seen as an economic life vest to establishments that sell mixed drinks, but where in-person business is reduced due to COVID-19 restrictions and people wary of dining inside packed indoor spaces.
Overdorf’s bill has no companion yet in the Senate. But plenty of other related legislation has already been filed by his colleagues in the Legislature.
Republican Sen. Jennifer Bradley is backing legislation to offer mixed drinks for delivery, provided those drinks are part of a food order. Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Josie Tomkow, both Republicans, have offered similar legislation as well.
With the smorgasbord of “drink-to-go” measures being put forward, it seems likely something will emerge from the Legislature this year. Gov. DeSantis has supported changing state law as well.
“I’m for it being permanent, and I think that you’ll probably get a pretty good reception in the Legislature,” DeSantis said in September.