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Obtaining an Aspen Liquor License

An Aspen liquor license is required for businesses to sell or distribute alcoholic beverages.

Aspen, Colorado Restaurants, Bars and Liquor Stores all must obtain an Aspen Liquor License before they can legally sell alcohol beverages. All retail liquor licenses submitted to the City of Aspen Local Licensing Authority (“LLA”) which meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m. in the Aspen City Council meeting room.  Liquor license applicants will be required to appear before the Aspen LLA for a liquor license hearing before their liquor license can be issued. The Aspen City Clerk’s office processes all types of liquor license transactions and applications.

Colorado liquor laws and rules govern the manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Any person intending to manufacture, sell, or deal in spirituous liquor in the State of Colorado must apply for a Colorado liquor license.  If you intend to only manufacture alcohol beverages, e.g., a distillery, brewery or winery, you will apply directly to the State of Colorado – NOT the city of Aspen.

Is a Lawyer Necessary to Obtain an Aspen Liquor License?

No, but it is recommended as the liquor license hearing is a quasi-judicial proceeding, and if your liquor license application is denied, you have a right to appeal.  The liquor license appeal will be based on the record created before the Aspen Local Liquor Licensing Authority, so if you do not create a proper record, a successful appeal of the license denial will be significantly more difficult to achieve.

Before applying for a liquor license, applicants must review and be familiar with the Colorado Liquor Code and Colorado Liquor Rules and other laws that pertain to liquor licenses and procedures.  an applicant/licensee must also review state statutes, rules and regulations, and local ordinances applicable to their circumstance. While extremely helpful through the process, the Aspen City Clerk cannot answer questions regarding how the rules, statutes, ordinances, and regulations apply to an applicant/licensee’s situation; such questions should be directed to a lawyer.

Further, LLCs and Corporations may not appear “pro se” in Colorado Courts, with very limited exceptions.  While many licensing authorities permit LLCs and Corporations to represent themselves at liquor license hearings, a very strong argument can be made that this is improper.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Aspen, Colorado Liquor License?

The liquor licensing process generally takes three to four months (sometimes longer) to complete.  Getting started as soon as possible before your Aspen business plans to open is best.

Process for Obtaining an Aspen Liquor License

  1. Have properly formed business entity (Colorado LLC or Corporation, for example).
  2. Have an executed lease (for a period of over one year), or own the property to be licensed.
  3. Choose the proper type of Colorado Liquor License for your establishment.
    • Common Aspen Colorado Liquor License Types Are:
      1. Hotel Restaurant License
      2. Tavern License
      3. Beer and Wine License
      4. Retail Liquor Store License
      5. Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailer License
      6. Brew Pub License
      7. Distillery Pub License
  4. Choose the correct permit application from the State.
  5. Get fingerprinted.
  6. Submit the liquor license application to the City of Aspen City Clerk
    • The City of Aspen Clerk’s office is located at: 427 Rio Grande Place, 3rd Floor, Aspen, CO 81611
  7. Pay any liquor license fees associated with the liquor license application.
  8. Post a public notice.
    • A Public Notice must be posted conspicuously at the physical location of the premises no less than 10 days before the public hearing.
  9. Petition the neighborhood.
    • The Aspen Local Licensing Authority considers the “need and desires” of the adult inhabitants of the neighborhood as evidenced by documentation from residents and/or businesses in the neighborhood of the address to be licensed.
  10. Attend a liquor license public hearing
  11. Applications that are approved by the Aspen Local License Authority are forwarded to the Colorado State Liquor Enforcement Division for final approval and issuance.

Liquor License Renewal

Liquor licenses are valid for a period of one year.  Once the liquor license is obtained, it must be renewed annually.  Aspen liquor license renewal applications must be submitted 45 days prior to license expiration date, while Colorado Special Event liquor permit applications must be submitted 60 days prior to the event. 

Aspen Liquor License Violations

All Colorado Liquor Licensees are subject to the laws and rules of Colorado that govern the manufacture, distribution, sale and service of alcohol in the State of Colorado.  The most common liquor license violations we see are for failure to pass a compliance check, for the sale of alcohol to a minor.  Even with the best training, mistakes happen.  The key is to understand who is being cited with the Colorado liquor law violation, why the liquor violations occurred and to know your options.

Aspen Liquor License Lawyers

Our Aspen liquor license lawyers are ready to assist in obtaining an Aspen Colorado Liquor License and defend your brewery, bar, or restaurant against any Colorado liquor license violations.  Whether you need to transfer, modify, or obtain a new liquor license, our beverage attorneys will start by addressing your needs and continue to provide guidance along the way.  Your goals and bottom line are our priority. Contact the Colorado liquor license lawyers at LaszloLaw today to discuss your Aspen Colorado liquor license needs.

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