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California Liquor License Lottery: Rules

Here are a few rules to keep in mind if you are planning on entering the California Liquor License lottery.

1.  You must be able to file a liquor license application within 90 days of being notified that you have been awarded a license through the lottery.  This can be very significant if you do not yet have a location.

2.  The person or entity who applied for the lottery license must have been a California resident for 90 days preceding the lottery.

3.  Holding periods apply for lottery winners.  For an original license, you must hold it a minimum of 2 years before you can resell it.  For an inter-county license, you must hold it for a minimum of 5 years.  This is to prevent lottery winners from “flipping” their license immediately.

If you need more information regarding the California Liquor License lottery, please contact our office and we would be happy to assist you.


Distilling Your Own Alcoholic Beverages

What are the rules regarding the distilling of your own alcoholic beverages?  California liquor license laws are very specific on what you are allowed (and not allowed) to do in terms of distilling alcohol, owning a still, and the sale of your own distilled spirits.

Learn more by watching our video below.  If you are considering distilling your own alcohol, please give our office a call so we can provide you with the information you will need to adhere to California State Liquor Laws.


Can You Distill Your Own Liquor at Home?

California Liquor License Laws – Stills

In recent years, hobbyists have found it popular to brew their own beer and wine at home.  In California, you are allowed to make up to 200 gallons of homemade beer or wine per year for your own consumption without the need of a California Liquor License.

But what is the law regarding homemade distilling of spirits?

California law prohibits you not only from making your own hard alcohol (vodka, rum, tequila, etc…), but it is also illegal to even own a still without the proper liquor license.

In addition, any legal beer or wine that you make can not be sold.

If you are taking your hobby to the next level and would like to pursue a California liquor license to do it legally, contact our office and we can give you the proper direction.

The video below provides more information.

Can You Warehouse Alcohol Under Your CA Liquor License?

Is it legal to warehouse or store alcohol with your current California Liquor License?

There are two types of warehouse facilities in California-  Public and Private.

A public warehouse is allowed to store alcoholic beverages for other licensees.  This may be a situation such as an importer who brings alcohol into California but does not have the space to store it.  It is important to note that in California, alcohol can be stored at an unlicensed location, but in order for it to be sold or delivered directly to the consumer from the storage location, that facility must be licensed.

A private warehouse is a storage facility that a licensee would keep in the same county in which they are licensed.  An example of this would be multi-location retail liquor stores.  It would be common for that business to have a central, privately-owned warehouse where they would receive all of their deliveries.  Once delivered by the vendor, the alcoholic beverages would then be shipped to each store location via their own trucks and drivers, not by the vendors themselves.

Watch the video below to learn more:

California Liquor License Laws | Private Parties

Do you need a California liquor license to serve alcohol at a private party?

This is an issue that typically generates questions.  If you are having a private party, will you need a liquor license?  Obviously, if someone can walk up to the bar at the party and buy a drink, a liquor license would be required.  But the ABC also considers the indirect sale of alcoholic beverages and you must be careful of certain situations.

For instance, if you charge an admission fee or cover charge to your party and then serve alcohol, it may require licensing.  If your party is open to the general public, then it may require a license.  If your event allows the general public to bring their own alcoholic beverages and consume them in a place that is not licensed, then you may require a license.

Watch the video below for more information on this topic and contact our office at (855) 774-9200 if you have additional questions.


Offering Free Alcoholic Beverages to Your Customers

Recently, many service industry businesses have started to offer complimentary alcoholic beverages to their patrons. A common example would be a salon or day spa offering a free glass of wine to customers while they enjoy a pedicure or manicure. What the owners of these establishments often fail to realize is that a liquor license is required to provide alcohol to customers.

The issue stems from the fact that even though individuals are not directly paying for the alcohol, they are paying for other services and the ABC considers this an indirect sale of alcoholic beverages. Therefore, a liquor license is required.

If you own a business and you are considering offering this type of beverage service, contact our office so we can assess your situation and determine the best license type for you.

The video below provides additional information.

California Liquor License Requirements for a Catering Company

Liquor License Requirement Vary Based on Your Situation

Often, catering companies will want to offer alcoholic beverage sales as part of their catering service.  However, the ability to do this depends primarily on your company structure and whether or not you already have a California Liquor License for your primary location.

For instance, if you own a restaurant with a liquor license for that establishment and you now wish to add alcohol service to your catered events, you may simply be able to apply for a permit with the ABC and add the service.  However, if you do not own a restaurant and you do not already have a liquor license, the process is not as simple.  You may need to partner with an existing restaurant for the alcohol sales or you could potentially offer bar tending service at the event without selling the alcohol (the party host would furnish the alcoholic beverages).

This area of liquor licensing can be confusing and you definitely do not want to be in violation of ABC laws.  Watch the video below for more information and contact our office at (855) 774-9200 if you require assistance.


Adding an Event Permit to Your California Liquor License

As an on-sale licensee (bar or restaurant), you may want to occasionally hold a special event for circumstances such as the Super Bowl or New Year’s Eve. You may find that your premises is too small for such an event and wish to extend it out into your parking lot or adjacent property. You current California liquor license does not allow for this provision and you must then apply for a Type 77 liquor license (Event Permit).

An Event Permit can not be purchased as a stand-alone license, but for a small annual fee of $131 a licensee can add an Event Permit which will allow such an event to be held up to four times per year. This is a great way for an establishment to increase accommodations and patronage on a day where it is warranted like Super Bowl Sunday.

If you have specific questions about a Type 77 liquor license, please contact our office directly at 855-774-9200.

The video below will provide more information.

California Liquor License Renewal Process

Understanding the Process of Renewing Your California Liquor License

The most important factor to remember with regarding the renewal of your California liquor license is that it is your responsibility to make sure the renewal fee is paid.  The ABC will send you a renewal notice, just as the DMV sends you a notice for your car registration.  However, if the renewal notice does not reach you or is lost in the mail, it is still incumbent upon the licensee to pay the renewal fee on time.

Late fees on your California liquor license renewal can get hefty.  If paid less than 60 days late, you’ll pay a 50% penalty.  Then, after 60 days that penalty increases to 100%.  Finally, after a 90 day delinquency, your license can be completely revoked.

If you have questions or problems concerning the renewal of your California liquor license, please contact our office at 855-774-9200.

The video below will provide additional information.


California Liquor License Problems | 1 Seller, 2 Buyers

Sometimes, when buying or selling a California liquor license, problems arise that are completely unexpected which could jeopardize the entire transaction. In this scenario, we encountered a seller who had signed escrow instructions with two different buyers.  Luckily, our experience allowed us to rectify the situation and achieve a perfect result for all parties involved.

Watch the video below to learn more:


Buy a California Liquor License

The guidance and protection you need when buying a liquor license.

Sell a California Liquor License

Avoid unnecessary delays and complications when selling your liquor license.


Your complete source for California Liquor License information.