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Acquiring A Liquor License
The first step to acquiring an alcoholic beverage license is to determine if there is one available in the area in which you intend to open your business. If your business is a restaurant wishing to sell beer, wine, and liquor, or a package store also desiring to sell beer, wine, and liquor, you will find that the available license quota is filled in 99% of areas that are inside city limits.
You can determine the number of the type of license you are interested in by referring to the license type page. Once you have determined the type of license, you can call the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission and speak to a processor who can tell you if the type of license you need is available in your area of the state.
If the quota is filled, you can investigate the option of buying the type of license you need from a current license holder who wants to sell their license. The Alcohol & Tobacco Commission can send you a listing of individuals and firms that will assist you in locating a license on the open market. The price you pay will vary depending on the type of license you need and the location of your business.
Once you have determined the type of license you need is available, the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission can send you the necessary forms.
*Please note that you must have a valid lease, be the contract purchaser of, or own the premises for the business for which you are seeking a license.
You will need to call the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission to request a "transfer of ownership" application. If the license is expiring in less than four (4) months, the current owner of the license must also file the "renewal application" for the license at the same time.
When you send in your "transfer of ownership" application and fee, you will have to include with it:
If you plan to move the license to a new location, you will also need to complete a "transfer of location" application and send it along with the other items listed above.
Please determine the type of application forms you need and then call the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission to request specific forms.
*Please note that no transfers will be allowed until all sales and property taxes are paid, and any pending violations are resolved. You should check with the current owner about these items.
The state legislature determines the quotas and the quotas are determined by the population in each city or town. Once the quota is full, the only way to increase it is due to a change in population, which must be verified by the United States Census Bureau.
Once you submit an application for a new permit, the entire process may take as long as 10-12 weeks. Under ordinary conditions, a renewal of a permit may take 8-10 weeks.
Briefly, the process consists of the following:
You will need to appear at the Local Board meeting, which is held regularly in each county. At that meeting, the permit will be brought up for consideration by a four-member panel composed of three locally appointed residents of the county, and one member of the Indiana State Excise Police, who should have already come out to visit the site at which you intend to operate the permit.
Residents of the area are allowed to speak for or against the granting of the permit, as are you, the applicant. The Local Board makes their decision based on several factors which are specifically spelled out in the Alcoholic Beverage Code of the State of Indiana.
Either side has the right to appeal the Local Board decision to the State Alcohol & Tobacco Commission within fifteen (15) days.
The complete process can be viewed in a diagram by clicking here.