There are many types of liquor licenses available for California businesses. Picking the right liquor license depends on many factors and what you serve at your establishment. Let’s discuss the various types of liquor licenses in California and which one is right for your business.
How Many Types of Liquor Licenses Are There?
Whether you are running a restaurant or a bar in California, you must hold the proper liquor license for your facility. Otherwise, you cannot legally sell alcohol beverages to customers.
Through the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC), the Golden State provides several types of liquor licenses.
In addition to being associated with specific facilities, these licenses refer to the kind of alcoholic beverages that your site can serve. They also regulate whether minors can access your premises or avail of any other amenities that you offer. With that being said, all types of liquor licenses prohibit selling alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 21.
It’s crucial to learn about the different liquor licenses in California. Knowing essential information such as a license’s overall purpose and the fee helps you obtain the right license for your premises and steer clear of any unnecessary issues.
To help you find this information quickly, here’s a guide to the different types of liquor licenses that you can get in California.
According to the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) in the State of California, Type 41 liquor licenses enable you to have beer and wine only at your restaurant. It must be a food eating place.
The Type 41 liquor license is one of the most frequently obtained liquor licenses in California. However, the license is only provided to dining facilities and comes with a few stipulations.
Type 41 Liquor License Cost
According to the California Department of ABC, liquor licenses require an application fee and a subsequent annual fee.
The Type 41 license falls under the category of the non-general license. Its application fee starts from $905. Whereas, its annual fee currently stands at $455.
From January 1, 2021, these charges are supposed to change. The application fee will start from $930, while the annual fee will increase to $465.
If you are transferring your license or making changes to it, an additional fee may apply. These charges are defined at the California Department of ABC website. For transfers, you might also need to pay higher costs. This stipulation is especially true in areas where it is difficult to get a new license.
What is a Type 41 ABC License
If you hold a Type 41 license, you can serve beer and wine to your customers. They can also consume these beverages on or off the premises. However, you cannot serve or sell any distilled spirits for drinking. With that being said, you can still use distilled spirits in cooking.
This license allows minors who are below the legal drinking age of 21 to access your premises.
To obtain a Type 41 license, your facility needs to be licensed as a dining or eating place. As such, its primary source of revenue should come from preparing and serving food to customers.
Type 42 Licenses regulate beer and wine only for bar/tavern settings, which means minors are not allowed inside the premises. Also, a food menu option is not required for this type of license.
The Type 42 license also allows you to sell beer and wine. However, this license is only provided to facilities such as bars and taverns where minors are not allowed. With that, certain exceptions for musicians over the age of 18 are permitted if they do not have access to an area where alcoholic beverages are consumed or sold.
You can sell beer and wine for consumption on or off your property. But your premises does not have to be an eating place to have this license.
Type 61 License is a beer only bar/tavern where those under 21 years old cannot enter. Warning signs for minors are required to be posted in these places. A food menu is not needed for this type of establishment, and serving food is not allowed.
The Type 61 license approves your bar or tavern to sell beer to customers. With that, you cannot sell wine and distilled spirits from your property..
Your facility does not need to be an eating place for this type of license. Minors are not allowed to access your premises.
The “whole enchilada” so to speak, a Type 75 license allows for beer, wine, and distilled alcohol to be sold on the premises, and minors are allowed on the premises. This license allows a specified amount of brewing on-site. This place is required to be a “bona fide” eating place and prohibits off-site consumption of alcohol.
The Type 75 license is provided to a facility that’s established as an eating place. It authorizes your premises to sell beer, wine, and distilled spirits to customers. But you cannot sell these alcoholic beverages for consumption off the property.
The Type 75 license allows your facility to host minors. This license also lets you brew a limited amount of beer on the premises.
The Type 21 license is provided to facilities that want to sell beer, wine, and distilled spirits for consumption off the premises.
This license is usually offered to package stores that directly sell goods for use outside of the property. It also allows you to have minors on your property.
The Type 47 license is meant for established eating places where the primary source of revenue comes from preparing and selling food.
This particular license allows your facility to sell beer, wine, and distilled spirits for consumption on-premises. But it also enables you to sell beer and wine for consumption off the premises.
The Type 47 license also allows you to have minors on your premises—it ideal for those dining establishments going after a fully-fledged alcohol license without barring any dining groups.
Type 47 Liquor License Cost
The Type 47 license has an application fee of $6,000 if you go for a priority license, the application fee increases to $15,835.
The Type 47 license has an annual fee that starts from $790 and goes up to $1,235. The yearly price depends upon the population area of the city where your facility is located.
From January 1, 2021, the general application fee for a Type 47 license will change to $6,160, while the priority application fee will move to $16,265.
The annual fee will also increase and range from $810 to $1,265, depending on your city’s population. Additional charges might also apply at the time of your application or transfer process.
The Type 20 license is granted to facilities that want to sell beer and wine for consumption off the premises.
If you have a Type 20 license, you can only sell packaged beverages to your customers, and it is typically meant for package stores. The Type 20 license allows you to have minors on your premises.
The Type 48 license is meant for bars and nightclubs. It allows your facility to sell beer, wine, and distilled spirits for consumption on your property. It also lets you sell beer and wine for use off your licensed premises.
If you have a Type 48 license, you are not allowed to host minors on your facility. But exceptions for musicians over the age of 18 are permitted only if they do not have access to the area where alcoholic beverages are sold or consumed.
Deciding Which Liquor License is Right For Your Business
Learning about these different types of liquor licenses and their associated use lets you make an informed decision for your facility.
However, before you set your mind on one license, it’s critical to have a big picture of the overall process and relevant costs. Going through the following questions helps you get a clearer picture of liquor licenses in California and allows you to obtain a license that’s the right fit.
- What kind of facility do you have?
This is an essential yet critical question to ask yourself. It allows you to rule out licenses that are not meant for your facility. For instance, if you have a packaged goods store, any licenses that are meant for eating places do not apply to your establishment.
- Does your site have an existing license? If so, does this license meet all of your needs? Will this license stay with the land or the owner?
If you have an existing license in place and need to upgrade your alcohol selling capabilities, you can simply exchange your license. This is most applicable if you are obtaining an upgraded license for the same facility.
- If you don’t have a license, is applying for a new one better than transferring an existing license?
Apart from new applications, liquor licenses can also be obtained via person-to-person or premises-to-premises transfers. This is especially applicable for jurisdictions such as San Francisco, where getting a new license is typically more difficult than transferring an existing one.
As compared to new applications, the application fees and duration can fluctuate for transfers. To move forward in a minimally invasive way, it’s best to contact a renowned liquor license dealer who can guide you through the transfer process.
- How long does it take for new liquor license applications to be processed?
How long does your local government take to process an initial application? New applications can take an average of 90 days to be processed. Conversely, transfers can get completed within an average of 75 days. The processing time can be decreased or increased due to circumstances.
It is best to weigh these options and keep this timeframe in mind before planning any new business operations that depend on your new license.
- Are local neighborhood authorities going to affect the application process?
There are certain restrictions in San Francisco, areas where you aren’t able to get new liquor licenses quickly. While considering your application for a license, make sure to keep these aspects in mind. In such cases, transferring a liquor license can be a better option.
- Is it a better option to obtain guidance from a professional liquor license agent?
Whether you are moving forward with a new application or a transfer, you need to adhere to specific processes before you get your liquor license. This can include inspections, investigations, and public hearings. This can be overwhelming, especially if you have never gone through the procedure before.
To make sure that you can move forward in a stress-free way, you can contact a seasoned liquor license agent in your area. With specialized experience, these professionals can guide you through the process without any problems.
- Are there similar establishments in your area?
It is essential to learn whether there are any other similar establishments in your immediate vicinity. This helps you gauge your competition while also allowing you to see if any of these facilities are open to transferring their existing liquor license.
- Is your land zoned for your planned operations?
If you plan to execute any business operations that go against your property’s current zoning, you will need to go through extensive processes such as a public hearing. Make sure that you are paying attention to this option before moving forward with your liquor licensing process.
- Are your needs urgent enough for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP)?
In California, a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is often issued after public hearings to accommodate individual facilities waiting for zoning permits. This process is also time-consuming but does grant you the required permissions to an extent. Considering whether it’s worth your time is also essential while you wait for your liquor license.
- Are you ready for appeals?
If denied, who will appeal the decision for you? It is not easy to get a liquor license, especially if you obtain it for the first time. This can also lead you towards rejections and subsequent appeals. If going through extensive procedures sounds daunting to you, you can turn towards a professional liquor license agent.
- What is the budget you have allocated for your license?
Typical liquor license application fees are priced lower than priority licenses. But they also take more time as compared to priority applications. On the other hand, transferred licenses can cost higher. But they also make way for a more natural process to obtain your license. Paying attention to these factors can help you make a decision that fits your budget and ongoing plans.
- Are you going to retain your license for a long time?
Once you obtain your license, you need to pay attention to the annual fees to retain it. But in case you are only operating the facility temporarily, selling or transferring your license would be the way to go when you are ready to shelve your operations. Considering these possibilities also helps in making a decision that fits your requirements.
By keeping all of this information in mind, you can find a type of liquor license that caters to your needs.
Contact Us For Help Applying the Complex Liquor Licensing Process
It is always wiser to hire an expert to represent you in the complex liquor licensing process. Permit Place provides permit expediter services, and our team is dedicated to liquor licenses, and we offer full-service coverage. We will not only apply for the permit and submit your application for a liquor license, but we will also do all the permit research, represent you at a public hearing, and save you time and money.
Contact us and get our team to become your team!
If you’re opening a bar or restaurant in Los Angeles, check out our Complete Guide to Los Angeles Restaurant Building Permits.