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Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Liquor License?

By Ceylan Pumphrey, Esq. | Last updated on
Starting a business takes time, money, and knowledge. You need to know the area of business that you'll be engaged in and the laws and regulations that apply to your type of business. For example, most businesses must obtain various licenses and permits in order to operate in a particular area legally. There are zoning laws and other regulations to consider. Additionally, if a business is looking to sell alcohol, it will need to obtain a liquor license, also called an alcoholic beverage license. Liquor stores, convenience stores, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and all alcohol sales in the U.S. are controlled by each state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

The Basics of Getting a Liquor License

Generally, there are different types of liquor licenses for different types of alcohol and types of businesses. For example, if you only plan on selling beer and wine, you'll need to apply for a different license than if you wanted to offer hard liquor. In some cases, a business can do a license transfer of an existing license. But often, you need to complete the full liquor license application process for a new license. Business owners should never attempt the sale of alcohol without the correct ABC license. Your local government agencies can help you understand where to apply and any local laws. It's important to note that sometimes the number of liquor licenses available is limited. The cost involved in obtaining a liquor license will vary depending on the type of liquor license you're seeking and where your business is located.

How a Lawyer Can Help

An experienced business lawyer can make the process of getting a liquor license much easier and less stressful. For example, an experienced lawyer should be able to anticipate any problems that may arise, and if an issue does arise, they probably have experience resolving it. In addition, a lawyer will know the process for obtaining a liquor license in your particular area, so you can be assured that the application is filled out correctly and all the necessary forms and information are filed. Finally, hiring a lawyer to help your business obtain a liquor license can leave you time to focus on actually running your business. If you haven't started your business yet, you can complete business formation documents from home with simple, DIY options customized for your state.

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