Liquor Licenses – An Overview
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Liquor License Law Overview
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Do you plan on opening a restaurant, bar, club, grocery store, convenience mart, or any kind of business or organization where you will sell liquor, beer, wine, or other kind of alcohol? If so, you’ll need to obtain a liquor, beer, wine or other license (also called a liquor permit) before you can legally sell any alcohol. Additionally, if you plan to manufacture, distribute, import, or deal with alcohol production in any commercial way, you’ll likely need a special type of liquor license or permit before you can create, distribute, import, or otherwise sell alcohol.

Each state creates its own unique set of alcohol and liquor laws, which includes how liquor licenses are distributed. In fact, certain liquor laws are often left for particular counties or municipalities to decide. And some of those counties may be "dry counties." A "dry county" does not allow the consumption of alcohol, but it may allow the production and/or sale of it. Most dry counties in the U.S. are found in the Bible-belt region of the lower 48 states.

NOTE: If it sounds counterintuitive to allow the sale of alcohol but not the consumption of alcohol, you’re right on! Ever hear of Jack Daniels Distillery? I’m sure you have. Well, Jack Daniels Distillery – i.e. where the whiskey is made – is located in the dry county of Moore, in Lynchburg, Tennessee. That’s right! The actual county where Jack Daniels whiskey is made is a dry county. Moore County allows Jack Daniels to make the whiskey, but you cannot drink it there! We know – we’ve been there. Instead of getting a taste of their whiskey at the end of the tour, we got lemonade!

There are also companies that specialize in selling, buying, transferring, and otherwise dealing with liquor licenses! Full liquor licenses (including all the different types of available licenses) in particular counties, can be extremely expensive when sold on the open market, into the thousands and thousands of dollars! It’s amazing how far we have come. Such companies may provide "feasibility studies" on whether to obtain a particular liquor license in a particular area. So, as you might imagine, there is often a lot of red tape when it comes to obtaining a liquor license, and liquor licenses can sometimes take a very long time to obtain. Well, it’s all about the alcohol, right?

Ok, so how does one actually obtain a liquor license? We’ll go over the step-by-step process next.