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Craft distillers to get fee break under new law

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craft distilleries

Craft distillers got another win in legislation approved by Gov. Rick Scott on Friday. The governor signed into law a wide-ranging bill (HB 689) that changes the state’s alcoholic beverage laws. Among the changes taking effect Saturday, the first day of the new budget year, it cuts the “annual license fee for a craft distillery from $4,000 to $1,000.” “Craft distilleries that qualify for the craft distillery designation will see a 75 percent reduction in the annual license fee for a distillery license,…

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Independent liquor stores fight ‘Whiskey and Wheaties Bill’

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Owners of small, independent liquor stores in central Florida are asking customers to support their efforts urging the governor to veto a bill allowing the sale of spirits in grocery stores. A proposal nicknamed the “Whiskey and Wheaties Bill” (SB 106) would allow grocery stores, big box retailers and other stores to sell liquor alongside wine, beer and other products. Gov. Rick Scott could sign the bill into law, after it passed the Florida Legislature last month with a one-vote…

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Bigger wine bottles could be coming to Florida

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Thanks to state Sen. Jeff Brandes, Nebuchadnezzar may come to Florida—the wine bottle size, not the king of ancient Babylon. Current law generally makes it illegal to sell wine “in an individual container holding more than 1 gallon.” A typical bottle is 750 milliliters, roughly a fifth of a gallon. Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, last week offered an amendment to a booze-advertising bill (SB 388). The amendment, adopted without objection, repeals the bottle-size law. It would allow wine bottles of all sizes, including the…

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Deadline to purchase discounted St. Pete Wine & Food Festival tickets approaching

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The St. Pete Wine & Food Festival doesn’t kick off until late September, but discounted tickets to the four-day high-end event are available right now — though they won’t be for much longer. Tickets for the festival’s “Grand Tasting,” which takes place on both Saturday and Sunday, September 26 and 27, are on sale for just $85 per day until July 8 — today. Tomorrow, July 9, they’ll shoot up to $95. The event will be held near Beach Drive, downtown, at North…

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Sheriff Chris Nocco joins call to re-examine alcohol separation laws

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Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco believes selling spirits alongside beer and wine is not an issue of minors having increased access to alcohol, but one of properly training clerks and other employees. On Thursday, Nocco joined other law enforcement officials, businesses, and organizations who have spoken out in the effort to repeal Florida’s Prohibition-era laws separating liquor and other grocery and retail sales. Floridians for Fair Business Practices (FFBP) coalition and its supporters have worked to promote the facts of…

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‘Pinot in the Park’ comes to Historic Kenwood for second year

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Red wine drinkers of the ‘burg, specifically those who love a good Pinot Noir, can drink it up Saturday April 18 at Seminole Park in the Historic Kenwood neighborhood. The neighborhood association is hosting its second annual “Pinot in the Park” festival from 6-9 p.m. The festival will feature not only a premium selection of pinot noir, but a feast of Pacific Northwest-style salmon bake. Some of St. Petersburg’s best chefs will also be on hand to whip up unique…

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Food and Wine Wednesday: Steve Westphal last man standing in bid to build restaurant at Albert Whitted Airport

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Albert Whitted Airport may finally get a new restaurant. The city was reviewing proposals from two local restaurateurs to operate in the space on the terminal’s second floor. Now, however, one has said he will withdraw his bid. Both Parkshore Grill owner Steve Westphal and the Undertow Beach Bar owner Paul Nicklaus submitted bids to rent the 5,000-square-foot space, which has sat empty since the terminal opened in 2007. Last week, however, Nicklaus said he had decided to withdraw. Officials…

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