What type of license do I need?
What are you trying to do? The most common license types we help people with are:
What can I do with a Type 41 license?
The Type 41 is an excellent, affordable restaurant license. It's also available at any time from Dept. of ABC, meaning you do not need to find one from a broker on the secondary market. There are some real benefits of getting an "Original" license-- no seller waiting for their money, no escrow, and no broker fee!
Buying & Selling
I have an ABC license and want to sell it. How much is it worth?
Essentially, what is someone willing to pay for it. It depends on a few factors:
I need a Type 47, Type 48, Type 20, Type 21 or Type 75 license. How do I get one?
These "general" licenses are limited based on county census numbers. So if your county's population is growing, there's a chance new "General" licenses (47, 48, 21, 75) may be available in the annual Priority Drawing that happens in October. More info on that HERE.
Where do I start if I want to buy a license?
Start here! You're in the right place.
I want to sell my license? Where do I start?
You're in the right place!
How long does it take to get an ABC license?
The fastest applications we've handled were done in just over 2 months. The slowest have been several years. It depends on several factors:
How much does it cost?
When you hire us, we charge a flat fee to manage your project. We will collect our fee, ABC fees and mailing costs at the beginning of the process. If you're buying an existing license, typically 25% of the purchase price is collected up front as a deposit. The total will vary due to specifics of your project— are you buying a new license or an existing one and transferring it? Is an escrow required? What are license values in your county? How complicated is your ownership structure? How many people need to get fingerprinted?
What is the annual Priority Drawing? (Liquor License Lottery)
Each fall, Dept. of ABC assesses county populations and issues new "General" licenses to the counties that are growing. General licenses are the big daddy retail licenses that include distilled spirits: Type 47, Type 48, Type 21, and Type 75. They literally pull names out of a raffle drum like bingo.
Signs & Postings
Operating a License
I'm a restaurant or bar, can I buy alcohol from Costco or another retailer?
No. As a licensed retailer yourself, you must buy from a licensed wholesaler in California. The state has a quite strict rule called the "Three Tier System" that separates alcohol producers, wholesalers and retailers.
We've changed some of the ownership on the license, do we need to tell ABC about it?
Yes. We know it's annoying to go through bureaucratic processes with ABC every time you change something. You're running a business, we get it.
We want to expand our operations to a patio/next door/etc. Do I need to do anything with ABC?
Yes. ABC has (thankfully) streamlined their process for expanding so that it's relatively simple to do it.
One thing to note is that ABC is the state agency, but you also need permission for certain types of expansions from your local governing body, aka the city or county where your business is located. For example, if you're expanding to the public sidewalk in Oakland, you need a Department of Transportation "Encroachment Permit". These can sometimes be much more involved than the ABC piece.
How do I know what I can and can't do?
Each ABC license comes with a not-very-obvious set of privileges and restrictions that even we can't remember, so totally understand that it's confusing for you to keep track of. We're compiling a list of basics for each license, but feel free to reach out if you have questions about your license privileges.
Do I have to comply with an ABC agent that comes to my business?
Yes. ABC has two arms– the licensing arm and the enforcement arm.
Can we hire minors to serve alcohol?
It depends on your license type!
How long do I have to keep records of alcohol transactions?
The ABC Act requires you maintain records of alcohol transactions for 3 years. Peace officers can request these records without notice and examine books. They almost never will do this unless there have been complaints made to the department, they just don't have the resources to monitor every licensee.
What kind of meals do I have to offer?
Oh, the million dollar food question.
Still have questions?
Chat with us right here on the site or send us an email.