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The California ABC License Process

F. Michael Ayaz

Selling alcoholic beverages in California is complicated. Locating the right business location can be expensive. Owning a bar or liquor store means you will put in long hours. It involves keeping your inventory resupplied regularly. And it includes hiring a staff who you can trust.

However, none of this is possible without the appropriate liquor license. Whether for on-sale or off-sale purchases, a license is difficult to obtain. The process for the granting of a license can be lengthy. And once obtained, a suspension of the license can occur for many reasons. Among other things, you could lose your license because of sales to underage individuals, employee misconduct, and crimes occurring on the premises.

The costs license revocation or suspension

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control website provides extensive information about licensing. It speaks of the average time it takes to go through the licensing process, and various tax and escrow requirements.

Importantly, the website contains information regarding applicable laws and regulations. Not surprisingly, there are extensive penalty guidelines. These guidelines contain the following language:

The California Constitution authorizes the Department, in its discretion, to suspend or revoke any license to sell alcoholic beverages if it shall determine for good cause that the continuance of such license would be contrary to the public welfare or morals.

It’s important to avoid suspension or revocation of an alcoholic beverage control license (ABC) altogether. Whatever penalties the department may assess are minor to the costs that occur during a disruption of your business.

The importance of experienced guidance

For this reason, it’s important to have advice and guidance of an experienced attorney to assure that you comply with your license requirements. Beyond compliance, such professionals can assist with business planning to put your ABC license to the ultimate use.

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