Steps to Getting a Liquor License in New Jersey

For those who wants to sell, serve or manufacturer alcohol, a liquor license is required. While obtaining this license can be easy in some states, it can be a challenge in New Jersey.

Laws in the Garden State require liquor licenses to be sold in the municipalities where they were originally issued. These regulations are based on a given area’s population, which has led to most of these licenses being auctioned off in growing municipalities. You need to consider several factors while obtaining the right license for your situation, and this guide aims to provide the right steps to get a New Jersey liquor license.

Pick the right license

Those interested in joining the industry should know that there are a variety of liquor licenses to choose from. Some options allow you to sell liquor for consumption both on and off the premises. In this case, you’d be a good fit for a Plenary Retail Consumption License. With this, you can sell alcohol and related products to customers that are not restricted to the public barroom for consumption. However, your products must be displayed for sale behind the bar and on the walls so that customers are aware of what kind of alcohol you have.

Other licenses, however, come with more restrictions, such as the Brew Pub License. This option, also known as the “Restricted Brewery License”, allows you to sell alcohol as long as it is not over 3,000 barrels per license term. You also need to already have a Plenary Retail Consumption License to obtain this second license. If you plan to work at a restaurant, then you might consider a Bring Your Own Bottle License. With this option, you can let customers bring their own beer to the restaurant, and you can provide glasses for them. However, they can’t bring liquor, and you can’t charge any fees for the glasses.

Decide where you want to work

Certain licenses are better suited for particular environments, and the kind of license you end up with will depend on the kind of setting you prefer to work in. Wholesale licenses are up your alley if you prefer a spot like a craft brewery, distillery or winery that focuses more on liquor.

On the other hand, you may prefer to work somewhere that sells more than just liquor, such as restaurants, clubs, bars, grocery stores, hotels, or lounges. Retail licenses are required for these locations, and they apply to both individuals and companies.

Consider fees

The kind of liquor that you want to make and sell determines how much you’ll have to pay in fees when getting your license. A Plenary Brewery License will cost you $10,625 if you want to make or sell beer, while making or selling spirits will require a Plenary Distillery License, which will cost $12,500.

If you want to make and sell wine at a liquor store Lawrenceville, NJ, for instance, it will cost you $938 to get a Plenary Winery License. A Plenary Retail Consumption License is needed to serve alcohol at a restaurant, and you’ll need to pay anywhere between $250 and $2,500 per year.

Contact an attorney

It can be easy for people new to the liquor industry, as well as those who are moving in from another state, to miss a step required to obtain a liquor license. If you want to avoid penalties and keep your license, then you’ll want to discuss your situation with New Jersey attorneys who have experience in this field.

You want to make sure that your lawyer knows how to get through the application process for both making and selling liquor. An attorney will share the documents and steps needed for different licenses in certain towns, which comes in handy if you have your eye on expanding your business.

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