Do you have a bar? Are you looking to expand into the restaurant world? Perhaps you would like to add a socializing area to your current business?
Whatever it is, if you are looking to sell liquor, you are required to have a liquor license.
There are plenty of misconceptions about obtaining one of these permits, and too often business owners are surprised to learn that it doesn’t merely involve ticking a couple of boxes and paying some money.
To assist you on your business journey, here are five things to know about obtaining a liquor license, as shared by trusted Florida-based liquor license consulting services.
1. Varying liquor licenses are required for diverse reasons.
First things first: In order to sell alcoholic beverages, you need a liquor license as it is the permit that makes it legal to sell. Generally, there are two primary types of liquor licenses: on-license and off-license.
An on-license is for businesses that are going to sell alcohol on the premises (like a bar or restaurant), whereas an off-license is needed for companies that are going to sell liquor but will have the consumer drink it off the premises (like a liquor store or supermarket).
2. Different cities and countries have varying rules about liquor licenses.
Depending on where your restaurant or bar is located, you will have different rules surrounding liquor licenses. However, no matter where you are positioned, the primary similarity is that you are required to have a liquor license to be able to sell alcohol.
Even a BYOB (bring your own beverage) business or restaurant must have the equivalent license. Obtaining the license may have to include members of society outside of your business. Examples are other landlords and parties, to assist in concluding how your license will operate and what you are able to do.
For efficiency, opt to work with a liquor license consultant who will ensure that you are able to get your liquor license as effortlessly as possible.
3. Liquor licenses can be costly.
At this point, you are probably asking, “How much is a liquor license?” This is a challenging question to answer because it is entirely dependent on the city or country your bar or restaurant resides in — every locale has its requirements and associated costs.
However, in many cases, obtaining a liquor license can be a costly undertaking.
In addition to where the business is, the cost of your liquor license will also be determined by which hours you sell, what type of alcohol you sell, what kind of establishment you are operating, which days of the week you will sell, and whether drinking will happen on or off your property.
Additionally, many places limit the number of liquor licenses they supply, so you could potentially discover that, currently, there is not a license available to you. This could change over time as other businesses open, close, and move around.
4. Liquor licences can take some time to obtain.
Again, it will depend on where you are, but a basic rule of thumb is that it will take around 5-6 months for an application to be processed. If you are looking to have your liquor license in time for an opening date or the like, then you must apply for it well in advance.
5. You can lose your liquor license.
Unsurprisingly, it can be very easy for a bar or restaurant to lose their liquor license. Just because you have obtained one, doesn’t mean that you and your establishment are now invincible. In order to keep your license, you need to continue to abide by the necessary rules — forever.
These rules may include:
- Not over serving those who are already too inebriated
- Not allowing repetitive disorderly conduct to occur in your bar or restaurant
- Not serving minors
- Not employing untrained service staff
- Not selling at unauthorized times
- Not permitting drinking in unlicensed areas
Whatever the specific rules are that govern where you live, ensure you and your team are all aware of them. Losing a liquor license is a devastating blow for any restaurant or bar.
Have you ever applied for a liquor licence? What was the process like for you? Let us know in the comments below!
Richard Bantock is the President of Liquor License Consultants, Inc. (formerly known as The Liquor License Guy) which specializes in the purchasing and selling of Florida liquor licenses. For 20 years, he successfully operated liquor store, nightclub, bar and restaurant companies, gaining first-hand knowledge of business planning, financial negotiations and the liquor licensing process. Liquor License Consultants, Inc. reflects his insight and expertise.