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liquor license

A liquor license is a permit to sell alcoholic beverages.


In Canada, liquor licenses are issued by the legal authority of each province to allow an individual or business to manufacture or sell alcoholic beverages. Usually several types of liquor licenses are available to apply for within each certain province. There are many regulations which apply to all types of liquor licenses. For example, each license must indicate the time, place and the maximum amount of sale. License holders must strictly follow all the terms and rules to avoid suspension and revocation.


The Liquor Licensing Board of Ontario(LLBO)was the regulatory agency responsible for issuing liquor permits and regulating the sale, service and consumption of alcoholic beverages in Ontario to promote moderation and responsible use within the province.[1] Established in 1947 under the Liquor Licence Act (Ontario)[2], the agency is not to be mistaken with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO),[3] an alcohol retailer. The LLBO [1] was replaced by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario[4]in 1998 under the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act (Ontario)[5] passed in 1996.The LLBO name lives on in many eateries and entertainment establishments which display official certification to indicate the location is legally licensed to serve alcohol.[1]


The territory of Quebec has its own specials laws concerning selling liquor and acquiring a liquor license. The Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux is in charge of liquor distribution and sets the laws on liquor consumption.The permits authorizing the sale or service of alcoholic beverages within the territory concerning liquor permits concluded between the Government and a Mohawk community are determined in the agreement and issued by the authority designated in the agreement.[6] For example, in Quebec all places that are able to receive a liquor license except grocery stores (available but until 11pm ) are able to operate every day, from 8 o’clock in the morning to 3 o’clock in the morning in selling liquor.[7]


The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) licences liquor activities in Alberta according to the Gaming and Liquor Act and Regulation, other provincial and federal legislation and AGLC policies.[8]
The AGLC regulates Alberta’s liquor industry, which was privatized in 1993 enabling the private sector to retail, warehouse and distribute liquor in our province.[9]
In Alberta, five classes of licences as well as a special event licence are issued for the sale and manufacture of liquor:

  • General Liquor Licence Information
  • Special Event licences (for private or public functions)
  • Class A licences (for restaurants, lounges, etc.)
  • Class B licences (for recreational facilities, etc.)
  • Class C licences (for private clubs, canteens, etc.)
  • Class D licences (for retail liquor stores, hotel 'off-sales', etc.), and
  • Class E licences (for liquor manufacturing)

See also: AGLC handbook

British Columbia[edit]

The British Columbia government regulates and monitors the liquor industry to protect the public from the harm that may be caused by making and selling liquor or products that contain liquor.[10] The B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) regulates liquor service in bars and restaurants, private liquor stores ,liquor manufacturers and importers, Ubrews and UVins (for personal liquor manufacturing) as well as liquor service at special occasion events.[11] The Liquor Distribution Branch is responsible for the importation and distribution of liquor in B.C. and also operates government liquor stores, it is against the law to provide liquor that has not been certified by the Liquor Distribution Branch. Inspectors will visit establishments unannounced and if the establishment fails to comply with laws and regulations, sizure of liquor, fine or suspension of license may follow. [12]


The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA)[13] is the corporation responsible for the distribution and regulation of alcohol in the province of Saskatchewan.

Types of personal use permits issued in Saskatchewan include:

  • Sale Permit: These permits last for 12 hours and are authorized for charitable, educational, religious or community service functions. Prices for the alcoholic beverages served are set by the permittee.
  • Non- Sale Permit: These permits are strictly used for serving alcohol in personal celebrations including weddings, staff parties, or reunions. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed to be sold with this permit.

Businesses seeking authorization to serve alcoholic beverages must complete the Commercial Liquor Permit Application [14]

Types of commercial liquor licenses issued in Saskatchewan include:

  • Tavern License: Issued primarily for the purpose of selling alcohol in public establishments including bars, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs.
  • Special Use License: Issued for restaurants that do not primarily focus on alcoholic beverages but are served on special occasions.
  • Manufacturer License: Issued to authorize applicants with establishments primarily based on the manufacturing of alcoholic beverages.


Established in 1923, the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) serves as a regulating agency of alcohol sales and distributions in Manitoba.[15] Its licensing board provides 12 types of liquor license applications, including Dining Room License, Cocktail Lounge License,Spectator Activities License,etc. Beside basic requirements for licensed premises such as proper seating capacities, the licensing board also reviews criminal record check and security plans before issuing a liquor license.[16]

United States[edit]

In the United States, liquor licenses are issued separately by each individual state. Majority licenses are often specified by each state and localities that have laws and regulations in acquiring such a license. For example, in the state of Oregon, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission[17](OLCC) regulates and controls the distribution, sales and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Otherwise, general categories that are covered under license laws include when and where liquor may be served, the amount that can be served, how much it may be served for, and to whom it may be served. Across United States it is very common to have further specified protocols in restaurants such as limits on drinks per customer, zero discounts on drinks, and to have unfinished bottles of wine to remain in the restaurant. Furthermore, there may be several choices of license classes depending on how one intends to sell the alcoholic beverages. The most common types of licenses used in restaurants include:

  • Restaurant Liquor License: Known as the all liquor license, it is the most generally used license.
  • Beer and Wine Liquor License: This is also categorized as a general liquor license, however it does not include any strong alcohols or spirits.
  • Tavern Liquor License: This license is commonly used for restaurants that serve alcohol as well as food, but have 50% of their sales solely based on liquor.

It is important for wholesale liquor vendors in the United States to verify authenticity and validity of liquor licenses before selling because insurance companies do not cover claims related to alcohol if there is no valid liquor license involved.

New York[edit]

The New York State Liquor Authority(SLA) and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control(ABC) are responsible for regulating and controlling the manufacture and distribution of alcoholic beverages within New York State. Established in 1934 under New York State law, they are controlling all liquor related activities to this day. The main responsibilities of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control include reviewing and investigating applicants to determine eligibility, issuing and limiting the number and type of licenses and regulating trade of alcoholic beverages at wholesale and retail.[18] The SLA and the ABC state that the minimum requirements for liquor license eligibility are:

  • The age of 21 or older
  • No records of conviction
  • No police office with arresting powers


The Department of Alcoholic Beverage(ABC) in California was established in 1955. California ABC has the power to issue, deny, suspend or revoke any specific alcoholic beverage license. The department has three divisions: administration, licensing and compliance and each division has specific responsibilities.

The types of retail licenses in California are:

  • On-Sale General: licensing the sale of all types of alcoholic beverages.
  • Off-Sale General: licensing the sale of all types of alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the premises.
  • On-Sale Beer and Wine: licensing the sale of all types of wine and malt beverages.
  • Off-Sale Beer and Wine: licensing the sale of all types of wine and malt beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the premises.
  • On-Sale Beer: licensing the sale of malt beverages.

Each licenses require different application processes.

California ABC has investigators, also known as peace officers and they are responsible for investigating and make arrests for any violations if possible.[19]


The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission(TABC) previously known as Texas Liquor Control Board is the agency responsible for enforcing regulations and laws concerning the sales of alcoholic beverages within the state of Texas.[20] Introduced in 1935 and headquartered in Austin, the agency has followed the basic laws of the Alcoholic Beverage Code while issuing nearly 100,000 permits and liquor licenses per year.[21] The basic requirements to be authorized with a liquor license include citizenship, 21 years of age or older, and successful completion of specified application forms.

The types of liquor licenses issued in Texas include:

  • BG Permit: Authorizes a restaurant or bar to sell beer and wine that can be consumed on and off site.
  • MB Permit: Authorizes a restaurant or bar to sell beer, wine, mixed drinks and other hard liquors only to be consumed on site.
  • Q Permit: Authorizes a retailer to sell wine which may be consumed off the premises of the store.
  • BF Permit: Similar the Q permit, the BF permit allows a retailer to sell beer instead of wine which can be consumed off premises.

United Kingdom[edit]

Throughout the United Kingdom, the sale of alcohol is only authorized for pubs, restaurants, shops and other premises that are officially licensed by the local authority. The individual responsible for the premises must also hold a personal license. As far as the concern of alcohol, premises licenses can be categorized into two different kinds:

  • on-licences : allowing consumption of alcohol on the premises.
  • off-licences : alcohol must be removed from the vendor's premises and drunk elsewhere.

See also Alcohol licensing laws of the United Kingdom


  1. ^ a b c "". Retrieved March 27, 2012. Cite error: The named reference "Liquor Licensing Board of Ontario" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ "". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  3. ^ "". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  4. ^ "". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  5. ^ "". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  6. ^ "Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  7. ^ "publications du quebec". Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  8. ^ [GAMING AND LIQUOR AC GAMING AND LIQUOR ACT] Check |url= value (help). Alberta Queen’s Printe. 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  9. ^ "AGLC". Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  10. ^ "The province of British Columbia". Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  11. ^ "The province of British Columbia". Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  12. ^ "The province of British Columbia". Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  13. ^ "Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  14. ^ "Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority" (PDF). Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  15. ^ "Manitoba Liquor Control Commission". Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  16. ^ "Manitoba Liquor Control Commission" (PDF). Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  17. ^ "". Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  18. ^ "New York State Liquor Authority". Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  19. ^ "California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control". Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  20. ^ "". Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  21. ^ "" (PDF). Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  • McCrory , David E. (1987). Liquor licenses: A guide to California retail alcoholic beverage licensing. Napa: Full Court Press. ISBN 9780961775506

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