Be it a bar, restaurant, or nightclub, your establishment requires a liquor license. Even other businesses like breweries, grocery stores, convenience stores, taverns, hotels, clubs need liquor licenses.
Liquor laws in America differ from state to state, plus local agencies play a prominent role in issuing liquor licenses. However, the primary steps remain the same for every state, and following them will make obtaining a liquor license smooth and hassle-free.
Awareness of state-specific liquor laws
Every state in the United States of America has its laws; hence you need to be aware of them. The Alcoholic Beverage Control, also known as ABC, formulates liquor laws for each state in America. This body, i.e., ABC, controls the sales and distribution of liquor.
They decide when and where you can sell liquor and to whom. Depending on the state and federal licensing requirements, liquor licenses can cost anywhere from $300 to $14,000. Even the processing time varies; it can take 5-6 months on average. Don’t forget to check if a particular city or town has license quotas. These license quotas determine the places where you can sell liquor in the state at a given point in time.
On-license of Off-license
The two main types of licenses given to establishments that sell alcohol are on-license and off-license.
Understand your license requirements
Depending on the type of business and the varieties of alcohol you want to sell, you need to apply for a liquor license accordingly. There are various types of liquor licenses.
Filing a liquor license application
After researching all the aspects of obtaining a liquor license, it is time to apply for one. Contact the local liquor licensing body and inquire about the paperwork required. Make a list of all the questions you want to be answered.
Make preparations for the entire procedure in advance. There is no point in running around at the last minute.
What are the documents required to apply for a liquor license?
The rules and regulations to apply for a liquor license differ from state to state. Each of the 50 states in America has its requirements. However, a few documents remain the same; some of them are as below.
Have these documents ready at the time of filling up the application.
Other documents you may be asked to furnish:
Cost of a Liquor License
It is difficult to provide an accurate cost for a liquor license in each state. For total clarity, you need to consult the Alcohol Beverage Control body in your state/town. You might have to get federal, state, county, and local licenses in some towns or localities. The more the number of licenses, the higher the cost.
State-controlled stores or private ownership?
In the United States of America, there are liquor stores controlled by the state while others are not. The state operates such controlled stores and doesn’t allow private businesses to sell liquor. The state governments do this to ensure they get the entire revenue.
With liquor privatization, the absolute control of sales and distribution lies with privately owned businesses and enterprises.
States in which private businesses cannot sell liquor:
There are states which allow the private ownership of liquor stores but make significant decisions related to prices, product selection, etc. Distributors and wholesalers have to abide by these decisions.
How long does it take to complete the entire process of obtaining a liquor license?
When applying for a liquor license, don’t leave it to guesswork. Talk to the ABC in your area and plan in advance. With proper planning, you can get your license before your establishment commences business. When you know that your business complies with all the legal rules and regulations, you can remain stress-free and conduct business properly.
Liquor license renewal procedure
A liquor license renewal is pretty quick and straightforward. Most liquor licenses offer a validity period of 1-3 years, after which it requires renewal. Your license renewal request will be granted provided you don’t break the law or get into any legal hassles. Depending on your state’s laws, you can renew your liquor license 90-120 days before expiration. Moreover, the liquor license renewal cost drops significantly compared to when you first received your liquor license.