Obtaining a Colorado liquor license is a critical step for any businesses that intends to sell or serve alcohol. Proper planning and attention to detail will be the difference between obtaining your license in time for your grand opening and many months of delay and additional paperwork. Our Colorado Liquor License Lawyers have identified a few key steps to keep in mind as you prepare to apply for your Colorado Liquor License.
1) Properly form your business. One of the most overlooked parts of the liquor licensing process is that in order to apply for a Colorado liquor license, a business must be … a business. That means, for example, a Colorado LLC must be formed through the Colorado Secretary of State and must have an operating agreement detailing its ownership interests, company structure and financial obligations.
2) Detail your Ownership Structure. As a part of the Colorado liquor licensing process, you will have to disclose all individuals or entities that hold a 10% or greater ownership interest and all executives in the company.
3) Know What Colorado Liquor License you Need. Before you apply for a Colorado liquor license, you’ll need to know what license you need – for instance, do you plan only to sell alcohol? Your business may require a Beer and Wine License, a Tavern License, a Hotel and Restaurant License, or a Retail Liquor License. Or, do you intend to make alcohol? Perhaps you plan to open a Colorado craft brewery, winery or distillery? What if you want make and sell alcohol – for example: open a Colorado Brewpub? The Colorado liquor license type your business will require depends on what type of business you are opening – and the requirements for each license are different.
4) Transfer, Modify or New Colorado Liquor License? If you are buying an existing Colorado Liquor License, you may only need to transfer that license – and while a transfer saves a few steps along the way, the application process is no less serious. If you are starting a business from scratch, you’ll need a new license – and, depending on the locality in which you’re planning to do business, your Colorado liquor license application will most likely require a neighborhood survey.
5) Understand Your City’s Liquor Licensing Process. All localities in Colorado are responsible for issuing most types of Colorado Liquor Licenses. For instance, the Boulder Beverage Licensing Authority will handle a Boulder business’ Colorado liquor application, just as the Broomfield Liquor Licensing Authority will handle applications for businesses in Broomfield. Generally, all Colorado liquor license applications will first be submitted to the local City Clerk’s office for review and then scheduled for a hearing by the Local Licensing Authority. While we have found city licensing clerks to be most helpful along the way, it is the responsibility of the applicant to provide an accurate and complete Colorado Liquor License application packet. Many cities offer packets and checklists to help applicants along the way.
Here are some helpful links to many local Colorado liquor licensing departments:
6) Keep up with all Colorado Liquor License Requirements. Obtaining your liquor license is just the beginning. Once your Colorado Liquor License has been approved, you’ll need to renew your liquor license annually. Also, you’ll need to inform the city and state of any ownership or management changes in your business promptly. This is so often overlooked by licensed establishments and it can lead to costly trouble – even revocation of your Colorado liquor license.
The bottom line is that having a Colorado liquor license requires attention to detail and understanding of the responsibilities that come along with the license. Keep in mind – the Colorado Liquor Licensing process takes time! If will not happen overnight – you should anticipate 3-4 months from start to finish. Your Colorado liquor license application may take longer if your application requires additional attention.
Colorado Beverage Lawyers of LaszloLaw
Our Colorado beverage lawyers are ready to assist in obtaining a Colorado Liquor 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 priority. Contact the Colorado beverage lawyers at LaszloLaw today to discuss your Colorado liquor license needs.