How to Obtain a Liquor License to Serve Liquor

by Angela Reinholz ; Updated September 26, 2017
Businesses need a liquor license in order to serve alcohol.

Liquor Laws vary from state to state but each state in the United States requires that you obtain a liquor license to serve alcohol if you are the owner of a restaurant or bar, or even if you are selling or serving liquor to people on a regular basis. Liquor licenses help the state regulate the sales of alcohol. A liquor license helps you prevent violations of state laws which will keep your business running in accordance with state liquor laws.

Step 1
Look into the type of liquore license you may need.

Research the liquor licenses that you would like to get. Ensure that you will apply for the right liquor license that you need by determining if you need a license to sell liquor or a license to sell other forms of alcohol such as beer and wine.

Step 2
Each state has a goverment website and office.

Locate your state’s government website or visit your state’s government office to get a copy of the liquor license application. The website will contain information on liquor licenses and it will have the application forms for you to download and print out straight from the computer. If you cannot print out the form the state website will also have the information on where to pick up the application forms from. Many state government facilities are also willing to mail the liquor license application forms to you.

Step 3

Fill out the application for a liquor license completely. You may have to fill out multiple applications if you are interested in serving more than one type of alcohol. Attach any documentation that the application may ask the forms. Make copies of the liquor license application and everything you attached for your files, just in case the state department loses your liquor license application.

Step 4

Send your application and all the attached forms to the state government agency to be processed. Make sure to enclose the proper fee amount for processing the paperwork. Fees for liquor licenses vary from state to state. Follow up by answering any additional questions the state department may have and turning in any additional documentation they might require. The state will send you a liquor license once you have met all of the state's requirements.


  • Follow state laws closely. Keep up with liquor license laws by checking in with your local state department on a regular basis.


  • Do not serve alcohol to minors and do not violate your liquor license regulations. This will be in violation of your state laws and could result in the state fining your business.

About the Author

Angela Reinholz is a full-time freelance writer. Reinholz started writing professionally in 2007, specializing in animals and social work with some branching off into legal matters. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern New Hampshire University and an associate degree in network administration from McIntosh College, located in Dover, N.H.

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