Protect Your Rights. Protect Your Livelihood.

  1. Home
  2.  → 
  3. Liquor Licensing
  4.  → Opening a brewery in California

Opening a brewery in California

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2024 | Liquor Licensing

Breweries continue to be popular business ventures for entrepreneurial Californians. If your dream is to open a brewery, the key to success is planning and knowing what you’ll need to make your business legal. Licensing is important when it comes to businesses that serve alcohol. By understanding the state’s alcohol licensing laws, you can have everything ready to get your business up and running.

The importance of licensing

Businesses in California must first get a business license before opening for operation. You’ll also need a certificate of occupancy that shows proper zoning of your physical business location, and that it is up to code and safe to use. Businesses that sell and serve alcohol must maintain a current liquor license. While filing and waiting for a liquor license can seem like a hassle, it’s an important part of keeping your brewery legal. The license is issued by the state through the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.

Before applying for a liquor license, you must first have a seller’s license. This license gives you the right to sell tangible goods that are subject to sales tax. While applying for this license doesn’t cost anything, you may have to provide a deposit to cover unpaid taxes if your business closes in the future. The California Department of Tax and Fee Registration provides the seller’s permit.

Applying for your liquor license

Once you have all your other licensing in order, you can apply for your liquor license. Once you apply, you must then post a public notice somewhere on your business property for 30 days. Depending on your location and other circumstances, you may have to inform your neighbors of your intentions to brew and serve alcohol or post a notice in the newspaper. You will have to prove that your business location is in a zone to sell alcohol.

Be prepared for the department to investigate your business and yourself to determine your eligibility. The application process can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to complete. The cost of the license varies, depending on the type of liquor license you’re applying for. You must renew your license each year and pay a renewal fee.

Questions about licensing

Opening a brewery can be an exciting, but stressful, venture. You may have questions or concerns about how best to proceed forward with the licensing process so that you’re in compliance with California’s laws. By working with someone who understands the laws, you can be sure to check all the boxes needed to get your brewery operating.