How To Get A Liquor License

Liquor license application can be a daunting task, filled with stacks of legal documents and a myriad of fees to pay. Licensing regulations vary by city or state, making the process even more confusing. This article aims to provide you with a guide on how to get a liquor license without losing your mind.

  1. Step 1: Identify the type of license you need
  2. Step 2: Research local regulations and requirements
  3. Step 3: Gather the necessary documents
  4. Step 4: Submit the application and pay fees
  5. Step 5: Wait for license approval
    1. Conclusion

Step 1: Identify the type of license you need

Each state has different types of liquor licenses, which often depends on the kind of business you are running. Here are some of the most common types of liquor licenses:

  • Beer and Wine License: Allows businesses to sell beer and wine only.
  • Liquor License: Permits businesses to sell beer, wine, and hard liquor.
  • Catering License: Enables beverage services in events like weddings and parties.
  • Restaurant License: Grants businesses the ability to sell beer, wine, and liquor for on-site consumption.

Step 2: Research local regulations and requirements

Every state and city has different licensing regulations and requirements. Before applying for a license, you need to become familiar with local laws and regulations. Here are some key points you should investigate:

  1. Age Requirements: Some states require license applicants to be at least 21 years old.
  2. Location Restrictions: The location of your business may dictate the type of liquor license you can apply for.
  3. Training and Education: Some states require you to obtain a certification proving that you understand the laws and requirements of owning a liquor business.
  4. Zoning Laws: The location of your business must be zoned for liquor sales.
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Step 3: Gather the necessary documents

Once you have identified the type of license you want to apply for, you'll need to document a lot of paperwork. These documents may vary from state to state, but here are some common documents required.

  • Application Form: Completed and signed by the business owner, and sometimes the manager.
  • Background Checks: Performed on all potential license holders.
  • Business Plan: Including descriptions of the management and ownership, proposed floor plan, and planned hours of operation.
  • Financial Statements: To reveal the capability to start or manage a liquor business.

Step 4: Submit the application and pay fees

Once you have completed all of the required forms and collected all necessary paperwork, it's time to submit your application. Application submission often comes with a fee to be paid up front. The fee for a liquor license application ranges from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the type of license and location.

Step 5: Wait for license approval

This is the last step in obtaining a liquor license. After submitting your application, you'll have to wait for the licensing board to review and approve your application. The waiting period varies depending on your geographic location, and could take several weeks to months. Once your application has been approved, you'll be issued a liquor license.


Getting a liquor license is not an easy task. It requires careful research, several types of documents, and fees. However, if you have a strong business plan and plenty of persistence, the process is achievable. Follow the steps outlined above, and hopefully, you'll be raising a glass to the success of your new venture in no time.

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