If you’re considering obtaining a beer and wine license in California, you may be curious about the associated costs and requirements. Let’s delve into the details of acquiring such a license.


Understanding Beer and Wine Licenses

Beer and wine licenses in California fall under the jurisdiction of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). These licenses, categorized as general licenses, allow for the sale of beer, wine, and distilled spirits. Among the most common types are Types 21, 47, and 48.

Application Fees Overview

When applying for new licenses or transferring existing ones, applicants incur application fees. These fees cover the processing of applications, including investigations into proposed premises and applicant backgrounds. Generally, application fees are non-refundable.

Fee Structure for General Licenses

Application fees for general licenses, which authorize the retail sale of various alcoholic beverages, differ based on license type and privileges. Notably, the number of general licenses available is restricted and subject to an annual lottery known as the “Priority” process.

Single Application

In some instances, applicants may require multiple licenses for their proposed business. However, if multiple license types apply to the same premises and are identified upon application submission, only the highest application fee is charged.

Annual Fees Overview

To maintain active licenses, annual fees are payable each year. These fees, due at the time of application, cover approximately one year of licensure. Refundable annual fees are collected upon application submission but refunded if the application is withdrawn or denied.

Variability in Annual Fees

For certain license types, annual fees are subject to variability based on factors such as production, population, or operational duration. These tiers include:

  • Production-based fees: Calculated for License Type 02 Winegrowers and Type 22 Wine Blender, contingent on annual production volumes.
  • Population-based fees: Applicable to On-Sale General licenses, categorized into tiers based on the population of the licensed premises’ city.
  • Seasonal fees: Historically offered for seasonal licenses, varying based on the licensee’s operational duration.

Application Fees Breakdown

Here’s a breakdown of application fees for different types of beer and wine licenses in California:

  • General – Priority: $18,635
  • General – Non-Priority: $1,065
  • Converting Seasonal General License to a year-round license: $18,635
  • Type 47 – On-Sale General Eating Place on Public Property: $7,060
  • Type 62 – On-Sale General Dockside: $2,355
  • Type 64 – Special On-Sale General Theater: $1,175
  • Type 70 – On-Sale General Restrictive Service: $7,060
  • Type 78 – Wine, Food, and Art Museum: $14,125
  • Type 90 – On-Sale General Music Venue: $18,635

The Value of Hiring a Liquor License Consultant

Navigating the intricacies of obtaining a beer and wine license in California can be daunting. Enlisting the expertise of a liquor license consultant can streamline the process, ensuring compliance with regulations and maximizing the likelihood of success. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a newcomer to the industry, a consultant can provide invaluable guidance throughout the licensing journey.