With the popularity of Florida beer fests, it is no surprise that the DABT keeps a close eye on festival organizer’s compliance with state and local alcohol laws, especially when it comes to unlicensed exhibitors sampling homebrews. Florida Statute section 562.165 authorizes production of beer for personal or family use in small quantities. Annually, homebrewers are permitted to produce one hundred gallons of homebrew for a household of one and two hundred gallons of homebrew for a household of two or more adults of legal drinking age. Homebrew may be removed from the premises where it was produced and transported for use at organized affairs, exhibitions, or competitions, such as homemakers’ contests, tastings, etc. but with Florida’s strict prohibition on the sale of homebrewed beer, homebrewer participation in beer festivals may be somewhat limited in scope. Festival participation usually requires an entry fee that allows attendees to pay one set fee to sample the beers offered. When the festival involves homebrewer participation, often times the event is orchestrated so that attendees are not paying for beer produced by unlicensed homebrewers. Festival organizers sometimes implement creative tactics to separate homebrew samplings from all other beer samplings, such as sectioning off the area where homebrewers are stationed and providing for free entry into the designated homebrew area or providing attendees with a separate wristband, ticket, or token to sample the homebrew free of charge. Festival organizers also often include a disclaimer on their event website and admission ticket stating that the entry fee only covers the sampling of beer offered by licensed brewers.
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