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Boulder Liquor License

Boulder businesses that intend to sell wine, beer or spirits must have a liquor license before they are allowed to sell alcoholic beverages.

Boulder Restaurants, Bars and Beer and Wine Stores and Liquor Stores, all must obtain a Boulder Liquor License before they can sell alcohol beverages. All retail liquor licenses applications are submitted to the Boulder Beverage Licensing Authority (“BLA”).
Once your liquor license application is submitted, a hearing will be held and then the application ruled upon by the Beverage Licensing Authority. The Boulder BLA meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 3:00pm, with a few exceptions. 
The Boulder Beverage Licensing Authority processes all types of retail liquor license transactions and applications.

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 Boulder. 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. 

Do You Need a Lawyer to Obtain a Boulder Liquor License?

Not necessarily, 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 Boulder Beverage 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 Colorado 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 Boulder BLA 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.

Also important to consider: 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 a Boulder Liquor License?

The liquor licensing process generally takes three to six months (sometimes longer) to complete. This timeline is largely dependent on the initial zoning approval required before even applying for a liquor license. Getting started as soon as possible before your business plans to open is best.  Again, Boulder requires a zoning use permit before applying for a liquor license and this adds time to the process.

Process for Obtaining a Boulder 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 Boulder Colorado Liquor License Types Are:
      1. Hotel Restaurant License
      2. Retail Liquor Store License
      3. Tavern License
      4. Brew Pub License
      5. Beer and Wine License
      6. Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailer License
      7. Distillery Pub License
  4. Apply for Boulder Zoning Location Analysis Approval.
  5. Choose the correct permit application from the State.
  6. Get fingerprinted (Boulder requires use of Identigo)
  7. Submit the liquor license application to the City of Boulder.
    • Boulder requires liquor license applications to be submitted via the online portal.
  8. Pay any liquor license fees associated with the liquor license application.
  9. 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.
  10. Petition the neighborhood.
    • The Boulder BLA 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.
  11. Attend a liquor license public hearing before the Boulder BLA.
  12. Applications that are approved by the City of Boulder Beverage Licensing Authority are forwarded to the Colorado State Liquor Enforcement Division for final approval and issuance.

Boulder Liquor License Renewal

Liquor licenses are valid for a period of one year.  Once the liquor license is obtained, it must be renewed annually.  Boulder 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. 

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.

Boulder Liquor License Lawyers

Our Boulder liquor license lawyers are ready to assist in obtaining a Boulder Liquor License and defend your restaurant, brewery, distillery pub, bar, or other liquor licensed business 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 Boulder liquor license needs.

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