When determining liquor license cost, a variety of factors must be taken into consideration. There are many different types of liquor permits, and each comes with different application processes and costs. Whether you’re selling a liquor license or wondering how to get a liquor license, License Locators can help you determine the right course of action to take.

Every bar, restaurant, and any other establishment looking to sell alcohol must pursue and purchase a liquor license to do so. This includes any establishment that manufactures, distributes, or sells alcohol through wholesale or retail. If you’re wondering how to obtain a liquor license, License Locators can guide you through the intensive steps.

California has very stringent regulations regarding the sale and manufacturing of alcohol, and those researching how to obtain a liquor license should keep in mind that even the most minute of details are covered by the regulations imposed. You’ll need to follow zoning laws, as well, making obtaining of a license anything but a straightforward task.

Various agencies regulate the process in varied ways depending on the state. In California, this agency is known as the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, often referred to as ABC. Prior to the installation of the ABC, those looking to apply for a liquor license were required to go through the Alcoholic Beverage Commission. In 1955, the ABC became its own department within the executive branch. Today, the department has headquarters in Sacramento, one northern district office, one southern, and 24 local offices dispersed in different areas of California. Beyond issuing liquor licenses, the ABC can also deny, suspend, and revoke existing alcoholic beverage licenses.

Determining which license is the best fit for your aims is the first step, so it’s essential to gain a solid understanding of the varied types of California liquor licenses. There are five main factions of brokered liquor licenses in the state of California: temporary licenses, non-profit temporary licenses, off-sale licenses, on-sale licenses, and non-retail licenses. One further distinction: on-sale refers to alcohol sold for consumption on the premises, while off-sale refers to alcoholic beverages that can be purchased and taken off premises for consumption. These five factions include the most popular license types: 20, 21, 41, 47, and 48.

A Type 20 license is categorized as an off-sale beer and wine liquor license, and these generally cost from a couple hundred dollars to multiple thousands, depending on county. If your establishment is a gas station or local corner store, this is generally the type of permit to pursue.

The next liquor license is the Type 21, which is an off-sale license that allows you to sell beer, wine, and spirits. Once again, depending on the location and amount of available licenses in the area, the Type 21 price can range from the low thousands to high hundreds of thousands and more. Liquor stores and grocery stores tend to use Type 21 liquor licenses.

If you’re looking to serve beer and wine on the premises, but not hard spirits, you’ll likely want to pursue a Type 41 license. These are applicable for businesses that serve food on-site. These cost much less than licenses that allow for the sale of hard liquors, but there are some loopholes that allow you to serve items other than beer and wine on the menu, including some types of sherry, vermouth, bitters, and even sake.

A type 47 license is categorized as an on-sale general bona fide public eating place liquor license. In other words, it’s generally required for a full service restaurant that serves food alongside beer, wine, and other spirits. These can cost anywhere from the low thousands to hundreds of thousand depending on location.

A liquor license Type 48 can be used for a public premise that requires anyone entering the establishment to be 21 years of age or older. These licenses are typically associated with bars or taverns, where food may or may not be served, which is what separates this type from its 47 counterpart. The pricing of a Type 48 liquor license in California can range upwards of thousands of dollars, all dependent on the amount of liquor licenses available in the area and where the establishment is situated within the county.

These are the types of licenses available in the state of California, according to abc.ca.gov.

Temporary Licenses

30        Temporary Retail Permit

31        Special Daily License

32        Daily Beer

33        Daily Wine

34        Daily Beer and Wine

37        Daily On-Sale General

Off-Sale Licenses

20        Off-Sale Beer and Wine

21        Off-Sale General

85        Limited Off-Sale Retail Wine License

On-Sale Licenses

40        On-Sale Beer

41        On-Sale Beer and Wine for Bona Fide Public Eating Place

42        On-Sale Beer and Wine for Public Premises

43        On-Sale Beer and Wine for Train

44        On-Sale Beer for Fishing Party Boat

45        On-Sale Beer and Wine for Boat

46        On-Sale Beer and Wine for Airplane

47        On-Sale General for Bona Fide Public Eating Place

48        On-Sale General for Public Premises

49        On-Sale General for Seasonal Business

50        On-Sale General for Club

51        Club

52        Veterans’ Club

53        On-Sale General for Train

54        On-Sale General for Boat

55        On-Sale General for Airplane

56        On-Sale General for Vessel of more than 1,000 tons burden

57        Special On-Sale General

58        Caterer’s Permit

59        On-Sale Beer and Wine for Seasonal Business

60        On-Sale Beer for Seasonal Business

61        On-Sale Beer for Public Premises

62        On-Sale General Bona Fide Public Eating Place Intermittent Dockside Vessel

63        On-Sale Beer and Wine for Hospital

64        Special On-Sale General Theatre

65        Special On-Sale Beer and Wine, Symphony

66        Controlled Access Cabinet Permit

67        Bed and Breakfast Inn

68        Portable Bar

69        Special On-Sale Beer & Wine Theater

70        On-Sale General Restrictive Service

75        On-Sale General Brew-Pub

76        On-Sale General Maritime Museum Association

77        Event Permit

78        On Sale General Wine, Food and Art Cultural Museum

80        Special On-Sale General Bed and Breakfast Inn

83        On-Sale General Caterer’s License

86        Instructional Tasting License

Non-Retail Licenses

01        Beer Manufacturer

02        Winegrower

03        Brandy Manufacturer

04        Distilled Spirits Manufacturer

05        Distilled Spirits Manufacturer’s Agent

06        Still

07        Rectifier

08        Wine Rectifier

09        Beer and Wine Importer

10        Beer and Wine Importer’s General

11        Brandy Importer

12        Distilled Spirits Importer

13        Distilled Spirits Importer’s General

14        Public Warehouse

15        Customs Broker

16        Wine Broker

17        Beer and Wine Wholesaler

18        Distilled Spirits Wholesaler

19        Industrial Alcohol Dealer

22        Wine Blender

23        Small Beer Manufacturer

24        Distilled Spirits Rectifier’s General

25        California Brandy Wholesaler

26        Out-of-State Beer Manufacturer’s Certificate

27        California Winegrowers Agent

28        Out-of-State Distilled Spirits Shipper’s Certificate

29        Winegrape Grower’s Certificate

79        Certified Farmers’ Market Sales Permit

81        Wine Sales Event Permit

82        Direct Shippers Permit

For a detailed listing of the license types available, head to abc.ca.gov.

There are varied types of liquor licenses that proprietors can apply for in California depending on their personal needs: whether those be restaurant California liquor licenses, beer and wine licenses, or even a tavern liquor license. Determining how to obtain a liquor license for your business is no easy task, but with the help of our dedicated team, you’ll find the permits you need at the prices you want. License Locators can help you secure the right license for the right price, and guide you through the process to determine which permit best suits your business plans and strategy.

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