Questions to Ask Before Applying for California Liquor License


ServicesApplying for a California liquor license can be a challenging activity mainly because of the process and paperwork involved. Many, if not most, interested businesses are then well-advised to ask for professional assistance from experienced liquor license consultants to facilitate the process and paperwork.

It also pays to ask the following questions and discuss their answers with the expert liquor license consultants.

What Type of License Is Applicable?

There are several types of liquor licenses in the Golden State – on sale general, on sale beer, and off sale beer and wine, to name a few – with each type pertaining to specific retailers and with specific rules on application. Keep in mind that the California liquor license approved for each establishment like restaurant, bar and tavern must be strictly followed in terms of the type of kitchen equipment, the menu, and the gross receipts, among other criteria, lest the authorities declare it invalid.

What Type of Local Permit Is Necessary?

The California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) requires the appropriate zoning permit issued by the local municipality as part of the requisites for the liquor license. Often known as the Conditional Use Permits (CUP), the zoning permit allows the serving of alcohol and related products on the property itself that will remain in use even when the business changes ownership. Keep in mind that the California liquor license and the CUP may occur alongside each other but these are two different permits.

What Is the Number of Restaurants Serving Alcohol in the General Area?

Both the ABC and the local municipal governments monitor the number of restaurants with alcohol on their menus within specified census tracts. Their purpose: To avoid so-called high crime (crime rate in the area exceeds the municipality’s crime rate by 20%) and overconcentration (the ratio of existing licenses in relation to population exceeds the ratio of licenses in relation to population in the county).

When either of the two exists in the location, the applicant must secure a finding of Public Convenience and Necessity (PCN) that, in turn, requires a public hearing. Without exemption, if there is no PCN approval from the local municipality, then there will be no California liquor license from the ABC either. This is the reason why two adjacent restaurants applying for a liquor license within two different census tracts will submit two different sets of requirements for approval.

What Is the Budget?

The cost of liquor license will vary depending on the required paperwork required and the type of license applied for. CUP submittal fees in the City of Los Angeles, for example, range from $8,000 for a standard review to $14,500 for an expedited review.

For the state liquor license, the cost will depend on the type of license. For example, a Type 41 License will cost $650 while a Type 47 license costs approximately $12,000 for each applicant.

New licenses may be unavailable, however. In this case, it is possible to purchase an existing license which can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000.

With all of the paperwork involved in the process of getting a California liquor license, the professional assistance of liquor license experts from Liquor License Leader cannot be overemphasized. With their experts on hand, getting the license is easier and faster.