St. Augustine Distillery by Kevin McDonald
St. Augustine Distillery owners, Philip McDaniel and Mike Diaz, have been working diligently toward changing the laws associated with craft distilleries selling products on-site to their customers. (Photo by Kevin McDonald)

House Passes Bill That Will Help Florida Craft Distillers

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (May 7, 2015) – The Florida House voted overwhelmingly in late April to support the same bill, Florida House Bill 596, that the Senate passed on April 23 to give makers of spirits the ability to sell more of their products directly to customers. This is a huge victory for craft distillers around the State of Florida.

“We have been working diligently, traveling back and forth from Tallahassee, to ensure that craft distillers are able to sell more product directly to customers,” said Philip McDaniel, co-founder and CEO of St. Augustine Distillery in St. Augustine, Fla. and co-founder of Florida Distillers Guild. “This means that we can grow our brand and help offset the hefty cost of running a craft distillery.”

Until 2013, distilleries could not sell any of their products on site. This greatly limited the ability to attract visitors and lead to more tourism spending. With the help of former Rep. Doc Renuart of Ponte Vedra Beach, a bill was passed to allow customers to purchase two bottles of spirits per year on site from distilleries.

“This new bill will allows our customers to buy two per brand per year,” explained McDaniel. “That means that someone can buy two bottles of our Florida Cane Vodka, two bottles of our New World Gin, and two bottles each of our rum and bourbon when they become available to the public.”

photos by Joseph Mills

The St. Augustine Distillery is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with free, guided tours and tastings every half hour. For more information, call 904-825-4962 or visit