Adding the sale of alcohol to your restaurant, bar, or other business can increase profits and customer numbers. However, obtaining a license is no walk in the park. Fingerprint cards, local government permission, and company documentation are all typically required. Additionally, many states have limited licenses, making them hard to come by.
How to Apply for a Liquor License
If you are starting a new business, obtaining a liquor license Houston, TX, can help you reach your sales goals and attract more customers. However, the application process is complex and requires careful attention to detail. Working with a business attorney who understands liquor licensing laws and requirements is essential. Before beginning the application process, you should decide what type of liquor license you need. Eight off-premises (bars, restaurants, grocery, and drug stores) and 20 manufacturer licenses are available. Applying for a manufacturer or off-premises license involves several steps and may take months to complete. Getting input from your local Community Board is also essential and can significantly impact the approval or rejection of your application. Lastly, you must ensure that the premises you plan to have a current certificate of occupancy and have been issued a building permit. A violation of any of these laws can significantly delay your license approval.
State Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Requirements
The State’s alcoholic beverage control (ABC) agency must approve the liquor license you need for your business. The licensing process can take from a few weeks to several months. State and local government restrictions and requirements also vary greatly, so getting involved with your community early in the process is essential. Some states divide licenses into categories for manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. The manufacturer licenses to produce alcohol, and the wholesalers sell it to the retailers. The retail licenses cover bars, restaurants, and convenience/gasoline/convenience stores that will sell and serve alcoholic beverages for consumption on or off the premises. The retail liquor licenses may also include taverns and beer, wine, and spirits stores.
A privatized system would allow more outlets, longer hours of sale, and greater advertising, resulting in higher consumption and greater costs to society for law enforcement, education, and addiction treatment services. The State’s current ABC system is receipt supported, with profits going to the local ABC boards for distribution locally.
Community Board Opinions
Once you’ve gathered all the required documentation and fees, including State, local, and processing fees, please submit it to your state ABC agency. It is important to note that a license can cost thousands of dollars, so your application package must be complete and correct. In some cities, Community Boards must be notified of an application for liquor licensing and have 30 days to express their opinion to the State Liquor Authority (SLA). If the Community Board opposes your license request, getting approval from the SLA will be easier. Due to the numerous legal requirements, many businesses seek the assistance of an experienced business lawyer specializing in liquor licensing.
If you need help obtaining your liquor license, consult a lawyer familiar with the process. Applying for a license is a complex and lengthy process, and if you complete any steps, your application can be completed on time. You may also be required to publish a notice of your application in the newspaper, which can take up to six weeks or more to complete. Depending on the establishment you operate if you plan to sell food on the premises, there are 25 different types of liquor licenses you can obtain, depending on the establishment you operate. You will be required to submit a variety of documentation, including floor plans of the facility and your proposed menu, as well as copies of your zoning permits, health permit, and building permits. You may also be required to provide fingerprints and other background checks.