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Catering To Your Guests In Good Spirits: Tips For Acquiring A Liquor License

by Lewis Hamilton

If you have recently considered starting your own catering business, you must realize that catering services often go well beyond food service. Many caterers also provide beverages, which includes alcohol. The provision of food and alcohol comes with a great deal of responsibility. In order to legally and successfully provide wine, spirits, beer, and other alcoholic beverages to customers, you must acquire a liquor license. Fortunately, there are tips to help you along the way in obtaining one.

Know What You're Selling

First and foremost, you need to determine the type of alcohol you want to provide for your customers. Are you simply looking to offer various beers or would you like to provide a wide range of options such as hard liquor, wine, champagne, and beer? Each and every state has its own Alcohol Beverage Control Agency or ABC. The ABC controls liquor licenses and liquor distribution.

The steps and requirements for obtaining a liquor license often vary by state and may even vary by city depending upon certain state and local rules and regulations. In order to obtain a license to sell alcohol, you will need to inform to inform the ABC agency of exactly what type of alcohol beverages you plan to sell. The ABC agency may not approve your entire request. The agency has the right to enforce that a business only sells certain types of alcoholic beverages.

Acquisition and Local Quotas

Acquiring a liquor license is an important aspect for any catering business. As a caterer, you should expect to provide service for a variety of events ranging from birthdays to weddings and everything in between. In many situations, your guests will inquire about alcohol. For example, a bride and groom may specify that they want alcohol served during their wedding reception. If you do not have a liquor license and are unable to fulfill alcohol requests, you could lose potential customers.

Visit your local ABC agency to determine what the requirements are for your area. In many areas, you have to determine if there is an available license quota. For example, in Indiana, it is stated that businesses will find that the available license quota has already reached 99% within city limits, meaning liquor licenses may be harder to obtain for some businesses. Make sure you inquire about the quota availability for your area before you set forth your plans to start your business.

Licensing and Insurance

Keep in mind that it could take several weeks for you to acquire a liquor license. After filling out your forms, there may be a fee involved in your application process. The fee can vary based on the type of business you run and the size of the city in which you operate. For example, in California, a restaurant that operates in a city with a population of approximately 40,000 can pay upwards of $12,000 for their liquor license.

The agency can let you know what amount you will have to pay in order to acquire your license. They can also let you know how much you will have to pay for any renewal fees. In addition to acquiring a liquor license, you should also have some form of liability insurance for your business that covers you in the event of any accidents or damages while providing alcohol at an event.

Keep in mind that the ABC agency can determine the type of alcohol you are permitted to provide your customers. They can also determine what hours of the day you are allowed to provide alcohol to your customers. Make sure you adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the agency in order to successfully run your business. When the time comes, you will need to renew your existing license to ensure you meet all the legal requirements for your area of business.

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