If you’re considering obtaining a liquor license in California, you might be wondering just how difficult the process is. Let’s break it down for you.

Different Types of Licenses

First off, it’s essential to understand that there are various types of liquor licenses in California, each serving different purposes.

  • Non-General License: This includes licenses like on-sale beer & wine licenses for restaurants or bars. These licenses can be obtained directly from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). The current cost for such a license is $1,065.
  • General License: These licenses, suitable for restaurants, bars, or liquor stores, can be trickier to acquire. They must be purchased from someone who already holds that type of license, through a broker, or by entering the annual ABC liquor license drawing.

The Liquor Lottery

Entering the liquor lottery is an option for those seeking a general alcohol license. This annual event typically takes place over two weeks in September.

  • Cost: The current cost to apply for the liquor lottery is $18,635.
  • Process: If there are more applicants than available licenses in a specific county, a drawing determines the winners. Unfortunately, not everyone can be a winner. If you’re unsuccessful, you’ll receive a refund of your application fees, minus a $100 processing fee.

Challenges and Considerations

Obtaining a liquor license in California can present several challenges and considerations:

  • Competition: Depending on the county and type of license you’re seeking, competition can be fierce. The liquor lottery, in particular, can be highly competitive, with many applicants vying for a limited number of licenses.
  • Regulatory Hurdles: The process of obtaining a liquor license involves navigating through various regulations set forth by the ABC. This can include background checks, financial disclosures, and compliance with zoning laws.
  • Timing: The timing of your application can also impact your chances of success. Understanding when to apply and being prepared to act swiftly can make a significant difference.

The Importance of Liquor License Professionals

Given the complexities and challenges involved in obtaining a liquor license in California, seeking assistance from professionals in the field is highly advisable.

Liquor License Consultants: These professionals specialize in helping individuals and businesses navigate the intricacies of the liquor license application process. They can provide invaluable guidance, streamline the application process, and increase your chances of success.

Legal Experts: Attorneys with experience in alcohol beverage law can also offer valuable insights and assistance throughout the licensing process, ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations.

Accountants and Financial Advisors: Professionals familiar with the financial aspects of obtaining a liquor license can help you prepare the necessary financial disclosures and ensure that you’re financially ready to take on the responsibilities that come with a liquor license.

In summary, while obtaining a liquor license in California can be challenging, it’s not impossible. With careful planning, persistence, and the assistance of liquor license professionals, you can navigate the process successfully and achieve your goal of obtaining a liquor license for your business.