Certain steps must be followed for the issuance or transfer of an alcoholic beverage
license. A person who wants to apply for an ABC license must start with the nearest
ABC District Office. An ABC staff member will ask the applicant/consultant certain
questions about the proposed operation and determine the type of license that is needed.
The ABC staff member will then advise the applicant on what steps need to be followed
and what forms and fees need to be paid and completed to file the application. Some
applicants, before filing an application with ABC, must first obtain approval from the
local zoning officials, open an escrow, or go to the office of the County Recorder for a
certified copy of a Notice of Intended Transfer.
ABC notifies and mails a copy of the application to local officials as required by law. If
the premises is in the city, a copy goes to the police department, city council and city planning department. If the premises is in the county, a copy goes to the sheriff’s
department, board of supervisors and the district attorney. If local officials have concerns
about the issuance or transfer of a license, they may request or impose conditions/restrictions on the business operation, or may file a protest.
Common concerns are that the license would create a public nuisance, add to crime in the
area, be contrary to a zoning law, is in a high-crime area or an area that has too many
licenses and would not serve public convenience or necessity. In the case of public
convenience or necessity the City Council or Board of Supervisors has 90 days to
determine this and notify ABC. If the City Council or Board of Supervisors does not
decide within 90 days, ABC may issue the license if the applicant shows ABC that
issuance would serve public convenience or necessity.
ABC conducts a thorough investigation, as required by law, to see if the applicant and the
premises qualify for a license. Most people think filing an application with ABC is a
simple feat but in fact this process can get very complex and time consuming. Wouldn’t
it be nice to have someone on your side that can expedite your application and go through
the red tape for you? Normally, if your application is handled properly and all of the
requirements for the city or county are followed in accordance with the laws and
regulations then you could have your liquor license in thirty to forty-five days. As an
investigator, I have seen applicants wait as long as one year to receive a liquor license
because proper procedures were not followed and when they filled out the application
they felt they could cut corners to save money by attempting the process themselves.
Pick someone who knows the process and who can expedite your application because
sometimes trying to save a dollar ends up costing you thousands in the end.
Russell Bloom is CEO of ABC Liquor License Specialists @ 1.818.345.2226.
Russell Bloom was employed with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and
specialized in Licensing and Enforcement.
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ABC Liquor License Specialists is led by industry expert, Russell Bloom, and are considered the premier liquor license consultants for the purchase, sale and facilitation of ABC liquor licenses nationwide.