5 Liquor Licensing Issues Every Business Should Plan Around

When you request a liquor license application, there are going to be issues to deal with. It's important to plan your liquor licensing efforts around these so take a look at 5 of the biggest concerns many businesses encounter.


Yes, this is a word that sounds like it crawled out of a bad mobster movie set in the 1920s. While prohibition was repealed at the federal level almost a century ago, it remains a reality in some so-called dry counties. There are also counties that only allow consumption off the premises of a business. You'll want to make sure liquor licensing is even an option where your business is located.

Types of Licenses

Very few states offer a blank liquor license. Instead, licenses are usually based on what the business does. A restaurant, for example, may have to get a different license than a night club. Similarly, some states have different licenses for serving only beer versus providing hard liquor. It's a good idea to learn what the options are in your area so you can match your license to your business requirements.

Limits on Issuance of Licenses

Some states and counties impose limits on how many licenses can be issued in a region. In areas where all the licenses are bought up, this can make one a very valuable commodity. It's wise to learn whether your area has such limits in place. If so, you'll also want to find out whether any are currently available.


Nationwide, the average cost of a license is a bit about $1,400. The range of prices, though, varies wildly. Idaho is happy to sell a license for $100, but California charges nearly $14,000. None of that accounts for what happens if license availability is limited and you have to get into a bidding war to acquire one.


Most U.S. states have what are called dram shop laws. These are laws that assign strict liability to any business that continues to serve a patron who subsequently gets involved in a drunk driving accident. Additional liability issues may arise from serving visibly intoxicated persons who end up involved in criminal violence, although this is less common.

Note that liability rules and insurance costs tend to be closely related. You'll want to have several long conversations with insurance carriers before you submit a liquor license application. This will help you get a full sense of the potential costs of running an establishment that serves liquor.

Try going here for more information about liquor licensing.

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When you request a liquor license application, there are going to be issues to deal with. It's important to plan your liquor licensing efforts around