Start Up: Getting the Right Liquor License

Adding liquor and beer to your location is a great way to boost sales and draw a bigger crowd. And when you have a rough day at work you can throw back a few shots after close, know what I mean? With great liquor comes great responsibility – and loads of license requirements! They’re are something like a zillion different liquor licenses, but don’t sweat it, One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment is here to show you around.

There are some initial steps to take when seeking out licensure. First you gotta figure out which local government agency issues the licenses. Do plenty of research on what licenses you’ll need, and which class of license works best with your business. Here’s a nice, easy-to-read, thought-provoking look at the various licenses out there in the world…

BEER AND WINE: With this license you can only sling beer and wine. No liquor or distilled spirits allowed! In some cities, restaurants on the small side are only allowed to get this kind of license.

HOTEL AND RESTAURANT: This license gives you the power to serve liquor, beer, and wine.

RESTAURANT: This license lets you serve beer, wine, and liquor. Commonly, this license restricts the percentage of your sales that come from alcohol. This percentage varies from state to state, but most requirements are in the 40 percent range. A minimum number of seats in your restaurant usually has to be met in order to get this license. This license is also known as an “all-liquor” license.

EATING PLACE: This license usually goes out to carryout joints that may have a small beer selection.

RETAIL: This license is for grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores, or any other retail place that allows patrons to come in and buy beer. Restaurants need not sweat this license.

BED AND BREAKFAST: This license was created to account for the size and sales of establishments smaller than a hotel. In order to qualify for one, your place needs to have a certain amount of bedrooms and a separate kitchen. This may be cheaper than a Hotel & Restaurant license, so check to see if you qualify.

TAVERN: If half of the sales at your restaurant are coming from liquor, the local government may require you to get a tavern license. This license only exists in a few states, so check first if it even exists in yours.

CLUB: This license applies to places like country clubs and golf clubhouses who serve alcohol to their members. Some states allow beer and wine in clubhouses, but no liquor.

BREWPUP: In some states, you need a license if you brew your own beer and plan on selling it to the public. Check with you local licensing agency for all of the micro-details (get it?).

ARTS: This special license is for places like movie theaters, opera houses, or any other cultural establishment that serves alcohol. Do they sell liquor at opera houses? That’d be cool.

WHOLE SALE OR DISTRIBUTOR: Anyone who’s selling liquor to hotels, restaurants, retail locations, etc. needs this license. Depending on what state you live in, you may need different licenses if you’re selling imported liquor versus domestic.

Different agencies regulate and issue these licenses, so do your homework to find out who to talk to. For instance there’s the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and the State Liquor Authority. It’ll make your life easier to do research first.

You’re going to want to start the licensing process early in the development of your restaurant. Most licenses are valid for a year and require an initial license fee. If you get in good with your local agency, they will probably set you up with an annual renewal automatically.

Alright, so when you’re ready to start serving alcohol to the thirsty masses, head into One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment for all of your equipment wants, dreams, and desires. We’re always getting in used bar equipment like kegerators, bottle coolers, back bar coolers, commercial refrigeration, etc. And we always sell it cheaper than the other guys, with plenty of free services to boot. With out financing plan, you can get all of the used equipment you need without breaking budget! Read up more on our financing plan here:

See you soon! Drinks on you!

One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment

One Fat Frog • 11473 S. Orange Blossom Trail • Orlando, FL • 407-480-3409
One Fat Frog • 1137 W. Airport Blvd. • Sanford, FL • 407-936-2733


2416 Sand Lake Road • Orlando, FL • 407-480-3409!/onefatfrog