If you own a restaurant or store, there may come a time when you want to expand your inventory to include alcoholic beverages. In this state, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) regulates the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol. To make alcoholic beverages available to your patrons, you must first secure the proper license to do so.
It’s a criminal offense to sell alcohol without a liquor license. If you faced conviction of such a crime, police might confiscate the alcoholic beverages on your menu or store shelves, and they could shut your business down. This is in addition to possible fines and other penalties. There are several key issues to keep in mind when obtaining a liquor license in California.
Locate your nearest ABC office
To apply for a liquor license in California, your first step is to find out where the nearest ABC office is, because you must go there to file an application. You’ll want to be prepared to provide details about the type of license you wish to acquire, which is based on numerous factors, such as whether you own a restaurant or store.
ABC officials will also want to know if your establishment allows patrons to bring their own alcohol onto the premises, as well as whether you will manufacture alcohol, in addition to selling it. They also might ask you for information regarding the exact days of the week and times when alcohol will be available for sale at your place of business.
You’ll need information regarding building and zoning codes
To obtain a liquor license, you’ll want to carefully review the building and zoning codes for the area where your business is located. Officials will not grant your application request for a license if building or zoning codes in your area prohibit the sale of alcohol.
This is typically the case if a restaurant or store is located in close proximity to a childcare center, school or other facility where children are regularly present. You should also be prepared to show information regarding your business permit and tax ID, as well as sales tax permits and additional permits that may be relevant to your liquor license application.
Make sure you renew your liquor license at the appropriate time
Once you determine exactly what type of liquor license you need and fill out the application at your local ABC office, it could take several months to process your request. If you obtain a license to manufacture or sell alcohol in a place of business, it is imperative that you understand that your license expires every year. If you fail to renew it on time, you could encounter legal problems.
Another obstacle that may arise as you navigate the ABC licensing system is that another local business owner in your area might object to your application. They will learn of your application when it public, and they have a certain amount of time in which they may file an objection.
Businesses in multiple states, fees and more
If you have branches of your business in multiple states, keep in mind that the ABC regulations for liquor licensure may vary in each state, and you must comply with the laws in the specific states in which you are filing an application. There are also typically fees attached to the application process.
Selling alcoholic beverages is usually a way to increase profits in a restaurant or store. If you have questions about the liquor license application process in California, it’s best to seek clarification from someone who is well-versed in the ABC laws of this state before you fill out an application.