Opening your own restaurant or bar is certainly an exciting and fulfilling experience. If you want to sell alcohol in your establishment, however, there are a few more steps you'll need to take to obtain your liquor license and offer alcohol on your menu. Here is everything you need to know to get started.

1) Research the law in your local area.

Since a liquor license gives the holder the legal right to serve alcohol, there are many rules and regulations surrounding how licenses are awarded. In fact, every state has its own guidelines that define where you can serve liquor, how much you can charge, and what containers you can use to serve the alcohol. Some towns may even have their own laws that are separate from the state regulations, so it is vital that you take the time to research what your specific location requires beforehand. An easy way to find what laws apply in your case is to check the Alcohol Beverage Control Boards (ABC) directory for your state.

2) Determine what type of liquor license is mandatory for your restaurant or bar.

There are a few different kinds of licenses available, but you will most likely need one of these three basic permits:

  • Tavern license - If you are planning to make more than half of your revenue from alcohol sales, you will need a tavern license.
  • Restaurant license - You can serve any type of alcohol with this license, but the money you make from liquor sales cannot surpass a state-mandated percentage of your overall revenue.
  • Beer and wine license - You can only serve beer and wine with this license, but it is cheaper than the other two license types.

Other specialty licenses may also be needed if you are operating a hotel, a private organization, or a country club. Be sure to ascertain the proper license for your business to guarantee that you apply for the correct license.

3) Prepare and submit your application.

After you have determined the licenses you will require based upon local regulations and your type of establishment, you will need to complete the application for your state. You may also need to include extra forms or documents, but your state's ABC board will indicate what other information you must enclose for the successful processing of your application. The approval process could take as long as six months, so make sure that you leave enough time for a response before your restaurant or bar's opening day.

4) Be aware of some other factors.

While the application itself is straightforward, there are a few additional things to keep in mind for your liquor license application. The cost of the license can be quite expensive. Many states charge several thousands of dollars for a license, so check with your ABC board for a list of fees and costs to prepare accordingly. There are also age requirements to take into consideration. You must be at least 21 years old to apply, and you won't be able to hire any servers under the age of 18 in some states once you have a liquor license.

Although applying for your liquor license may seem complicated, your state can walk you through the step-by-step process. In the end, having a liquor license can substantially expand your menu offerings, customer base, and annual revenue. To learn more about liquor licensing, you can hop over to this site.