How to Get a Liquor License in Missouri

by Jerry Garner ; Updated September 26, 2017
Liquor Store

Obtaining a liquor license is an element of success for many businesses in Missouri. Package stores, bars, hotels and restaurants depend on having a valid liquor license to maintain a competitive edge. Obtaining this license is a simple process, but one that can be difficult to complete. If 50 percent of the neighborhood votes you down, or if you have a city councilman who doesn’t want another liquor outlet in his district, you may find yourself faced with a challenge that is difficult to overcome. Aside from those key issues, which are manageable, obtaining a liquor license is an easy process for anyone who meets the basic qualifications.

Determine the type of liquor license that you need. There are several types of licenses available. The most common types are By-The-Drink, Package, Wholesaler and Manufacturer. If you have a retail, or By-The-Drink license, you will be further classified as either Tavern, Place of Entertainment, Place of Amusement, Restaurant/Bar or Caterer. It is important to know which license is applicable to you before you begin.

Identify the District that your business operates in. Liquor licenses are managed and enforced on a district level. Each district has its own office for applications, fees, questions and complaints. You can identify the district that relates to your business by visiting the website for the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.

Contact the Agent of your district to obtain the necessary application forms. The agent will need to read and sign the application to help prevent any oversights before it reaches the ATC office. You will also need to attach a passport size photo of yourself to the application, as well as a postcard sized photograph of the location where you intend to sell liquor.

Submit your application. The completed application, along with a check or money order for the required fees, will need to be submitted directly to the Supervisor of Liquor Control, Jefferson City, MO, 65101. The amount of the fees may vary from one district to another, so check with your agent to determine the appropriate fee to send with your application.

Wait for approval. The Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control will review your application, the history of your property, and any city ordinances that may effect your license. If you have reason to believe that you are not a person of “good moral character,” they may request fingerprints, which will be used in a criminal history search. Upon successfully reviewing your application, assuming there is no reason for them to deny the application, a license will be issued directly to you from the Supervisor of Liquor Control.


  • Many towns in Missouri have a City Ordinance preventing the sale of alcohol within 300 feet of a school or church. If your establishment falls within these boundaries, you will be required to submit, with your application, written consent from the majority of members on the board of the school or church you are near.

About the Author

Jerry Garner has been writing semi-professionally for more than 15 years. The body of Garner's work includes informative articles, news and current events and historical essays. He is an avid sports fan and frequently writes about outdoor activities online.

Photo Credits

  • Jef Poskanzer, Creative Commons License
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