4 Tips For Making Your Quest For A Liquor License Go Smoothly

The laws for serving liquor in commercial establishments vary depending on where you live. Some states have only recently revised centuries-old liquor regulations that are relics of repressive Colonial-era "blue laws" meant to curb behavior deemed offensive by Puritan officials.

If you want to begin serving liquor at your eating establishment, you need to figure out what agencies in your state and municipality govern the sale of alcohol. Keep in mind the following tips as you begin your quest for a liquor license to help make the process less frustrating, especially if you run into unexpected obstacles.

Be Prepared For the Ins and Outs of Bureaucracy

If you have lived in more than one state in your life, you may be aware of the vast differences in liquor laws from one state to the next. Each state sets its own laws for selling and serving alcohol. In addition, some cities and counties have additional laws that you must follow. As a result, the amount of forms you must fill out and application wait times can vary even from one town to the next.

If you are determined to get a license, be prepared for a long wait, even up to a few months. Furthermore, some municipalities enact quotas on how many liquor licenses they will issue based on county population.

If the quota is filled when you want to apply for a license, you will have to wait until an establishment loses its license or shuts down before your application can be processed. Some states with quotas have lotteries for liquor licenses.

Set Aside a Liquor License Application Fund

While you may rub your hands in glee when you think of the amount of money you can make by selling alcohol, obtaining a prized liquor license is not cheap. In fact, if you are on a tight budget, you may want to set up an account to save money for the liquor license application process.

In addition to paying an initial fee to even file the application, some jurisdictions also require you to open an escrow account with a third party. Depending on the type of establishment you own, the actual cost for the liquor license that you are approved for can range from a little over a hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.

Get Legal Help

While the prospect of obtaining a liquor license is exciting, if you want to make sure that you do not make any mistakes in the application process, you should seek the counsel of an attorney that specializes in alcohol beverage laws.

The last thing you want is to spend hundreds of dollars on fees only to get turned down because you missed an obscure deadline or submitted incorrect information to your municipal or state liquor license board. Furthermore, if you live in a state with antiquated blue laws, you do not want to lose your chance at serving alcohol at your establishment due to some weird Puritan-era regulation.

If you filed the liquor license application on your own and got denied, an attorney can review your application and help you mount a successful appeal.

Some states, such as New York, have certification programs for attorneys who represent clients applying for liquor licenses. If you hire an attorney certified by the state liquor authority, your application will be processed faster.

Be Vigilant About Not Breaking Rules

Your attorney can also help you stay abreast of changes in liquor laws and help you avoid violating regulations. Make sure that all of your employees receive adequate training on applicable regulations to keep your business from getting fined or having your license suspended.

In the event that you inadvertently violate a liquor law, your attorney can help you prepare to defend your business during hearings before the licensing board.

Talk to a lawyer to learn more about how to get a liquor license in your area.