Liquor License Rules

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The production and sale of alcoholic beverages is heavily regulated, but not always by the same agency.
The production and sale of alcoholic beverages is heavily regulated, but not always by the same agency. (Image: four wine glasses with white wine image by Arkady Ten from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Many businesses, such as restaurants, concert arenas and sporting events, sell alcoholic beverages along with other services. Others operate around the sale of alcohol itself. Some don't sell alcohol to individuals at all, but make the products that are shipped out for resale. Regardless of the type of establishment you desire you must have the appropriate licensing or suffer severe penalties including jail time and fines.

Types of Alcohol License

The Federal government oversees the issuance of licenses to produce or distribute alcoholic beverages of any kind. These businesses include alcohol producers, distributors, export companies, wholesalers and importers. It is not necessary for owners of breweries, or distilleries to get a state license unless they sell the products they make to consumers. For an establishment to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption, it must have an alcohol license issued by the state the business resides in. The federal government has no license or regulations over the sale of beverages.

What Agencies Govern the Licenses

For local liquor license applications, visit your local city hall and apply for a business liquor license. For producers and distributors the federal agency to contact is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, also known as the TTB. Contact them at:

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Public Information Officer 1310 G St. NW. Suite 300 Washington, D.C. 20220 202-453-2000 ttb.gov

Restrictions

A liquor license restricts the times a business can sell alcohol. These times vary from state to state, and in some cases city to city. The times allowed also can vary depending on whether you are selling for home use, or drinking in the establishment. A business' liquor license demands strict attention to legal drinking ages. Any establishment caught selling to a minor as described by the laws of the state will lose its license, the employee who made the sale and the owner may also be fined.

Classes

A tavern license includes all establishments where drinks are served to customers for consumption on the premises. A liquor license only applies to the alcoholic sales end of the business. If other entertainment is offered other licenses may be required. Another type of license is required if food is served. Your business will need to have an inspection on-site: a health, plumbing and fire inspection. The business also will need a criminal history review on you and possibly employees involved in the sale of alcoholic beverages. Licenses can cost several thousands of dollars for a one or more year period. Packaged good licenses are for stores that sell alcoholic beverages not opened on the grounds. The same inspections and costs apply to the sale of alcohol in a store. Other special licenses including after hours licenses, catering licenses, licenses to sell consumable liquor on an outdoor patio/bar may also be available depending on the location.

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