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NYC / New York New Liquor License Applications Lawyers

Liquor licenses are the lifeblood of almost all bars and restaurants. They are the funding source that keeps these fickle businesses afloat through market downturns and changing tastes in food. However, a liquor license can take a considerable amount of time and energy to obtain. The licenses also are at risk of suspension or revocation if an establishment does not follow a number of guidelines. Here are the steps that a business needs to take in order to obtain a liquor license and the many legal pitfalls that could occur along the way. Note that these are general guidelines. Every state has their own rules and regulations surrounding these licenses.

The first step to obtaining a liquor license is to draw up a business plan. The business plan will ensure that the company knows what type of license they should apply for. States often have different levels of licenses that businesses can apply for depending on their business. One example is the “tavern” license, which covers businesses that receive a comparable amount of income from liquor and food. Another is the “soft” versus “hard” liquor license, where “soft” refers to beer and wine and “hard” refers to liquors. “Hard” liquor licenses can be much more difficult to obtain due to the rapid intoxication from high-proof drinks such as whiskey and tequila. There is also the “on-liquor” license versus the “off-liquor” license. This distinction refers to whether or not the purchaser of the liquor drinks it on-site or somewhere else.

The business plan will also help your business decide if obtaining a liquor license makes financial sense. In some localities, liquor licenses can become prohibitively expensive. The expense results from the quotas that many localities impose on liquor licenses. If all of the licenses in a particular area have been claimed, a new business may need to spend thousands on buying a new license from another proprietor. Such an expense may derail a company’s business plan and force it to delay opening or change its location.

NYC Liquor License Applications Lawyers

Next, the company interested in obtaining a liquor license must submit a series of documents to a local ABC board as part of an application. These documents include a license of incorporation, partnership agreements, and a proposed food menu. If the application has been accepted, it will then be submitted for public review. Local laws on public review differ depending on jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions require the business to post about their proposal in a local newspaper. Others allow the company to simply post the proposal on the front of their building. The public is allowed an opportunity to submit comments or complaints about the proposal. If substantial complaints are submitted, the business must answer them and the comments could slow down or derail the proceedings. Once the public review period has been successfully completed, the local liquor control board continues their review of the license and may clear it. The entire process takes up to a year, and once the license is maintained it must be carefully monitored. One violation could lead to a massive fine, suspension, and even the revocation of a hard-earned license.

All of these steps invite the need for legal protections. Lawyers can help businesses craft plans and documents that have the highest chance of being approved by a local liquor board. In addition, lawyers can help the business fight back against any pitfalls in the approval process. If there is an eventual violation, a lawyer can file appeals or aid with pleas and a legal defense. A lawyer can handle all of these possible problems while the proprietor of the business focuses on making money and staying afloat.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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