If you are selling alcohol, you will need to get a liquor license to do business. Alas, though, getting it can be a convoluted process if you do without any help from a lawyer. This is why, no matter what you do, you have to have a liquor license attorney on board before filing.
If you search for it online, you will see that there are many liquor licensing lawyers out there that specialize in alcohol licensing. This is especially true in the large cities. How do you choose which one to hire?
The first thing you need to consider is the experience. Depending on the area that you are based in, there would be at least one type of liquor license being enforced. While they are all pretty straightforward, at least on the surface, the fact is that they do have nuances that only experienced lawyers would know.
To make your life easier, you can search for an attorney on the website of the National Association of Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Attorneys (NAABLA).
Expertise aside, another factor you need to consider is the reputation. Make sure to check that the lawyer does not have any complaint pending against it and that he or she enjoys glaring reviews and star ratings from clients. Yes, you will need to go to websites that specialize in rating different law firms across different practice areas. If a particular law firm is not found there, you don’t need to dismiss it. You can always ask for references and call what to ask what former clients are saying.
How much does it cost to hire a liquor license attorney? Well, that depends on the kind of license you need to get. Apparently, if your business requires multiple permits, it will cost you more. More than the money, however, you need to be concerned about the quality of the service you are getting and that you do everything right the first time around. When you have developed a business plan sit down with a professional to discuss and determine the best approach for obtaining the necessary licenses.
Since liquor licenses are specific to different cities, make sure that the lawyer you hire is based in the town you are in.
How many liquor licenses are there? While we can’t say this for the rest of the cities across the country, in Chicago, you will find six main classifications, and each has its own set of benefits and restrictions. They are based on the specifics of your business, for example, if you sell food, what hours you operate, etc.
If the primary source of income is liquor, that is, if alcoholic drinks are sold and consumed at the business premises, a tavern license is required. With this permit, businesses are prohibited from permitting anyone under the age of 21. Chicago attorneys typically charge 400 dollars for processing this permit.
Another type of liquor license, in most states, is the so-called Consumption on the Premises-Incidental Activity license. This is quickly known as the restaurant license. It’s the license to get for businesses that do not get their primary source of income from alcoholic drinks.
Establishments that need to get this type of license also needs to get other licenses unrelated to alcohol. Processing fees for this kind of liquor license typically run thousands of dollars.
Aside from the two different license mentioned above, Chicago also has the so-called package goods license for grocery stores and other similar establishments, club license for non-profit corporations, and caterer’s license for restaurants and caterers.
As we said earlier, while they are all pretty straightforward, each type of license has its own set of restrictions, which is only made clear when you are right in the middle of processing.
If you operate outside of Chicago, it is always a good idea to check what type of licenses are there and which one applies to you. Find good lawyers who can help you. Websites like Find Law are good places to start, although you can always go to Yelp or do a Google local search by typing in “liquor license attorney” plus your local area in the search bar.