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How to Get a Liquor License

Dec 14th 2018 - Blog, 

How to Get a Liquor License

Despite the taxes that accompany it, liquor is extremely profitable. So it’s no wonder why there are so many bars and pubs scattered throughout the world. And although not all restaurants offer alcohol, there’s no shortage of those that do. But before any establishment can sell liquor, it needs to get a liquor license. This post covers the different types of liquor licenses and explains how to attain one.  

Each State is Different

States all have their own rules and regulations regarding the sale of alcohol. For instance, some states limit the amount of places that can sell liquor. To better understand your own state’s laws, get in touch with your local Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) agency.  

Different Types of Liquor Licenses

Most states offer three different kinds of liquor licenses.

-A tavern license is for businesses that make most of their revenue by selling alcohol. Bars, pubs, and clubs fall into this category.

-A beer and wine license is for establishments that sell beer and wine but not liquor. It is usually reserved for locales that want to complement their food offerings.

-A restaurant license allows any alcohol to be sold but limits the revenue you can make from the sale of alcohol. The limit is usually a revenue percentage rather than a gross amount. So the more money you bring in from food and other sources, the more you’ll be able to earn from alcohol.

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On-License or Off-License

beer and liquor store

An on-license is required if you’re serving alcohol that’s consumed on your premises. Restaurants, bars, and pubs fall under this category.

Off-licenses are for places selling alcohol that will be consumed away from the establishment. So liquor stores, convenience stores, and supermarkets fall under this category. Micropubs that offer growlers and cans that can be taken home will require off-licenses in addition to a standard on-licenses.

Applying For a Liquor License

Once you know what type of license you need and understand your local laws, applying for a liquor license is easy. Simply get the proper forms from your local ABC agency, complete them, and submit them for review. Personal information along with your food menu, restaurant drawings, and other relevant information are usually required by the agency. Since the time to review the application often exceeds a month, be sure to submit your forms early.

If your surrounding area has already met its local liquor license quota, you likely will not be able to get a license from the government. However, you can still buy a license from another local business. Just be aware that buying a license this way will likely cost significantly more. 

Once You've Secured Your License

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how to get a liquor license