Each state has their own application process for obtaining liquor licenses. The first thing to do is to find out which government agency is in charge of issuing liquor licenses in order to get the correct application. The agency in charge (which can be a designated board or the city itself) will inform you of the correct process. The application process can take 6-8 weeks, so plan ahead!
Many states make the application process public, and communities may be opposed to the new business. City council or board meetings allow the public to express their opinions. Public protest may have tremendous influence on an agency in deciding whether to grant or deny a liquor license, so don’t ignore any public outcry at a city council meeting. Be prepared to comment at the meeting on the positive impact of your business to the community.
Most states refund any fees you paid in the application process. The agency in charge may hold a hearing to allow you to appeal a denial. Such hearings are usually governed by administrative law. Filing a lawsuit against the agency is always a possibility in order for reconsideration of a denial to issue a liquor license. An experienced attorney would be able to determine if you have a case.
Liquor licenses can be sold by people or other businesses who have previously obtained them. However, make sure the license is valid and the party selling it can do so in the first place! There are also numerous websites businesses that will apply for a liquor license for you (for a fee).
Even if applying for a liquor license seems self-explanatory, an experienced business attorney will be able to help you through the complicated process. An attorney can not only advise you but can also provide strategies for obtaining your liquor license in a speedy fashion.