San Diego Liquor Licensing: Filing for an ABC License – Where to Start

san diego liquor licensingIf you plan to serve, sell or manufacture alcohol at a business or event in San Diego, California you will need to obtain the proper license from the Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC, first. Failing to obtain the proper permit could lead to civil and/or criminal charges being filed against you. To ensure that you are in compliance with the law it is always best to consult with an experienced San Diego liquor licensing attorney; however, the following provides some basic information for anyone planning to sell, serve, or manufacture alcohol in the State of California.

The ABC controls all liquor licenses in the State of California. Whether you are applying for a new ABC license, or asking for a transfer of an existing license, it must be approved by the ABC. Before filing for a license you must determine which type of license you need. The type of license you apply for will determine what type of alcohol you can manufacture, sell, or serve as well as other things such as whether or not patrons are allowed to consume the alcohol off the premises. Choosing the correct type of license is critical.

Once you have determined which license you need you will need to determine which application forms you need. Keep in mind that the employees of the ABC cannot provide you with legal advice. They can tell you which forms you will need for a “48” license (On Sale General – Public Premises) but they cannot tell you if that is the right license for your plans. For legal advice you must consult with a liquor license attorney.

The approval process for an ABC license can easily run 75 days or longer for a transfer and 90 days or longer for a new license. Plan accordingly if you are opening a business and counting on the ability to serve or sell alcohol. Before your application can be approved the notice of application must be posted for 30 days. In addition, an investigation must be conducted which will take an additional 45 to 60 days.

Along with the State of California ABC license, zoning may be an issue if the location you intend to use isn’t properly zoned for live entertainment or outdoor patio space.

Typically, a significant financial investment is at stake when opening a business that sells or serves alcohol. Consulting an experienced San Diego liquor licensing attorney early on will prevent the loss of that investment down.

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