5 Basics Every Business Needs To Know To Secure A Liquor License

Posted on: 12 January 2022

You need a liquor license before you can serve or sell any type of alcoholic beverage. Requirements for a license vary by state and sometimes by county or city. The following are the basic things to know about securing a license, which can help you prepare to begin your application. 

1. Check Your Zoning

Zoning restrictions can stop your plans before they even begin. Most municipalities have zoning areas where it isn't possible to sell or serve liquor, such as near a school. Other areas may not be zoned for liquor sales, but the neighborhood has changed and you may be able to have your zoning altered. This process, which varies from location to location, must be completed before you begin the application for a license. 

2. Register a Business

Liquor licenses are only issued to registered businesses. If you are still in the initial stages of launching your business, you can begin the application process but you won't be able to actually complete it until your business is officially licensed. Typically, you must also register for a tax ID number for your business since taxation is one of the key factors that impact the granting of a liquor license.

3. Know Your Needs

In some localities, there are different types of liquor licenses. You may only be licensed to sell and not serve, which is suitable for a convenience store but not a good idea for a bar. Others may allow only certain types of liquor sales, such as wine and draft beer, but not allow other types, such as hard liquor. Research the various license types and their restrictions so you are sure to apply for the right one. 

4. Verify Licensing Boards

Liquor licenses are almost without exception first issued at the state level, but there may be other licensing boards you will also need to contact depending on your location. For example, your main liquor license may come from the state, but you may still need approval or a local license from the city or county. Verify what specific local and state-level licenses and approvals you need before you begin the process.

5.  Learn the Requirements

Requirements can also vary by state and municipality. Some only require that you have a registered business, while others may require that staff undergoes training themselves. Some states may require that bartenders be trained and licensed, while others only require business licensing. These requirements can and do change, so always ask for the most updated regulations. 

Contact a service that offers liquor license assistance so you can rest assured that you follow the correct process for your location. 


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Alcohol plays a really unique role in our culture. We drink when we are celebrating something. We drink when we are sad about something. We also drink when we are socializing and trying to get to know each other better, and that's the type of drinking that we find most interesting. Alcohol can act as a social lubricant, and we think that's really beautiful as long as you're able to use alcohol responsibly. From beer, to wine, to liquor, we talk about it all on this blog. We are passionate about alcoholic beverages and love learning about them from all angles.