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Colorado Distillery Pub License – What You Need To Know

Distillery BarIn April 2015, Colorado created the Distillery Pub license – which operates similarly to a Colorado Brew Pub license. Like the Colorado Brew Pub license, and Vintner’s Restaurant license, the Colorado Distillery Pub License is a retail-level liquor license and will go through the same process as most other Colorado on-premise licenses and obtain both a state and local approval after demonstrating that the distillery pub meets the reasonable requirements and the desires of the adult inhabitants of the neighborhood in which it will be situated.  Of course, in addition, Federal (TTB) approval is required before manufacturing alcohol.

While the law went into effect in 2015, there have since been very few distillery pub licensed issued in Colorado, so it is still a very new concept in practice.


In June 2021, the Colorado Legislature passed SB 21-270  which increases the annual production limits for Distillery Pubs from 45,000 liters per year to 875,000 liters.  This is a significant development for the Colorado distillery industry as it will allow far more distilleries to compete with Colorado Brewpubs.  Assuming Governor Polis signs the law, we expect the law to take effect on September 6, 2021.  Distilleries seeking to “switch” or “convert” to a Colorado Distillery Pub License will need to apply at the local level as it is a retail license.  In turn, the Distillery will surrender its Manufacturing, Wholesale and Sales Room licenses.  We expect to see guidance from Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division (“LED”) regarding “conversion” or nuances to the application process, and the transfer of existing spirits from the Manufacturing License to the Distillery Pub License.

The other aspects of the Distillery Pub License remain unchanged. 

A Colorado Distillery Pub license operates similarly to Colorado Brew Pub and Vintner’s Restaurant licenses in that the licensee must:

Serve meals;

Gross at least 15% of on-premises food and drink income from the sale of food;

Limit self-wholesale sales of the spirituous liquors it ferments and distills on the licensed premises to not more than 2,700 liters per product per year; and

Limit its total annual production of spirits to 45,000 liters** as set forth above, this is expected to increase to 875,000 liters in September 2021.

A Distillery Pub licensee is subject to state and local annual licensing fees.

Additionally, similar to Colorado Brew Pub licensees, a Distillery pub licensee may own or have a financial interest in another alcohol beverage licensee authorized to serve alcohol for on-premises consumption.

At the federal level, a Distillery Pub will be required to obtain a Distilled Spirits Plant permit from the TTB.

Caution! Distilling spirits is a minefield at the Federal (TTB) level and you should speak with an attorney before manufacturing ANY distilled spirit – even for experimentation purposes and even in your home.

We do not expect that there will be any effect of SB 21-270’s increased production on Distilleries’ DSP permits, and those will remain unchanged with the conversion of a Colorado Distillery to a Distillery Pub.  Howeverif the distillery floor plan changes (among other things) it is important to Amend your DSP with the TTB.

 Colorado Beverage Lawyers at LaszloLaw

Our Colorado beverage lawyers are ready to assist in obtaining a Distillery Pub License, manufacturer’s license and Colorado wholesaler’s license.  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 priorityContact the Colorado beverage lawyers at LaszloLaw today to discuss your Colorado liquor license needs.

Updated May 2018; June 2021.

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