How Much Does Beer and Wine License Cost

When considering of putting up a business that sells liquors, perhaps one of your biggest issues is how to deal with drunk customers. And why not? Different strokes for different folks. More so if they are taken over by too much spirit, taking care of them in your business premises is sure to be more than a handful.

Before you go that far, you’ve got securing a license to prioritize. You might find that knowing exactly how much the liquor license price is can be very extensive, but you need to know anyway. So we will try to help.

Average Cost of Beer and Wine License

A full liquor license can be obtained anywhere between $12,000 and $400,000. Licenses that are limited to beer and wine only can range from $3 to $5,000.

In terms of hospitality business, a restaurant liquor license price can be as little as $500 and can be as expensive as $70,000, depending on location or state, the amount of liquor you are allowed to sell, among others.

Additional Costs

  • There may be a separate application or processing fee charged to license applicants.
  • Liquor licenses are renewable every year so do not expect the expenses to stop in the first year. That is if you intend to have a continuing business.
  • Apart from application forms and personal background information, you may be required to produce the Certificate of Incorporation, Company Constitution, a copy of the certificate of title for the establishment, the partnership agreement in case of a partnership, layout or photos of the establishment, employee identification number, and possibly a list of proposed food menu.

Where to Apply for Beer and Wine License

Visit your state’s respective Alcoholic Beverage Control agency for the various criteria and steps on how to apply for a liquor license.

You may also check out for the link of each state’s liquor license agencies across the USA to know more information about licensing fees and requirements.

Factors Affecting Beer and Wine License Cost

  • State, county or city – the place where you intend to put your liquor business will be the major factor for the beer and wine license cost as each state, county or city has its own governing agency on licensing wine and spirits.
  • Kind of establishment – hospitality and store only establishments are charged differently in terms of license fees.
  • Kind of liquor – beers, wines, brandies, scotches, whiskeys, among others, have varying license fees depending on which of these you intend to sell or serve.
  • The quantity of liquor intended to sell – this can also determine into which category your business will fall, as each category will have varying license fee rates.
  • On-license or off-license – on-license is obtained when you intend to put up a business wherein liquors are to be served and consumed on the premises while off-license is intended for establishments that only sells liquors intended to be consumed elsewhere.
  • Economic factors – some years in the past have seen the peak of the liquor license price brought about by the booming economy when the national restaurant’s chains are expanding.
  • New license or buying existing one – you can save much when buying a license from an existing establishment, not to mention the time you can save from waiting for the new application to be completed which could take a few months to a year.

Types of Liquor Licenses

More often than not, you target the hospitality industry when considering selling wines and spirits. But within these categories are the different types of liquor licenses you need to secure as each has limitations.

Below are the most common types of liquor licenses for restaurants and other hospitality establishments:

  • Beer and wine liquor license – this is limited to beers and other beverages that have lesser alcohol content. No hard liquors and spirits are allowed.
  • Restaurant Liquor license – this is also called an all-liquor license, which is considered the most general liquor license.
  • Tavern liquor license – this license are given to establishment that sells or serves food apart from the beers and wines but more than half of the sales are attributed to liquors. This includes bars, pubs, and nightclubs.
  • Brewpub liquor license – if you intend to produce your own beer and wine, this is the right license for you.


Intoxication is the major concern of different regulating body of each local, state and federal government as this can be a cause of crime or harm to another person or property. Also the prevalence of accidents and deaths from drunk driving factor in the strict implementation of the law. Some of the most common restrictions are the following:

  • The time when liquor can be served
  • The place where liquor can be served
  • What kind of containers liquor can be served in
  • The amount of liquor that can be served at a time
  • The persons whom liquors can be served as the legal age to purchase and drink is 21.
  • The price of the liquor

In addition to the above limitations, various laws and regulations affecting hospitality establishments such as restaurants, taverns, bars or pubs can be seen around the country such as:

  • Limitations on the number or drinks per customer
  • Unfinished drinks are not allowed to be taken out or to be brought home
  • Alcohol ban during election day
  • Wholesalers of liquors are not allowed sell to establishments which do not have liquor license
  • Insurance claims related to alcohol will not be covered unless the establishment has a liquor license.
  • No discounts allowed on liquors

Useful Information

  • Applying for a liquor license can be extensive and therefore may take a while. So if you follow a timeline, be sure to apply early as processing can take up to a year.
  • It is possible to transfer the liquor license when purchasing an existing restaurant and just pay the license fee proportionate to the unused part depending on what month the buy-out will take effect.
  • The process can be very strict that most likely, a past misdemeanor can mean disapproval of license application. Unless you show proof or an acceptable explanation what transpired and why.
  • Some states prohibit a liquor license applicant from having any interest in a manufacturing or wholesale of alcoholic beverages due to conflict of interest.

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