Target, Walmart file rule challenge for ‘whiskey and Wheaties’
The big-box retailers late Monday filed an administrative challenge against the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages And Tobacco (ABT).
At issue: The state’s obscure, 24-year-old “Restaurant Rule,” which restricts eateries and other businesses that have ‘consumption on premises’ liquor licenses from selling anything other than items “customarily sold in a restaurant.” The plaintiffs say the rule is “not supported by logic or necessary facts.”
For over eight decades, Florida law — enacted after Prohibition — has required retailers to sell hard liquor in a separate store, though beer and wine can be sold in grocery aisles.
The current end game is that retailers selling ready-to-eat food, such as Costco, would be able to use consumption on premises licenses normally granted to restaurants to avoid the prohibition on selling booze in the same space as other goods.
(Costco isn’t involved in the current case, but has also been fighting the battle. One of its Florida stores was denied a consumption on premises license earlier this year.)