The production distribution and sale of alcohol in the United States is one of the most highly regulated industries in the county. Not only are there federal regulations, but state, and often local regulations can affect the operations of your brewery, winery, or distillery.

On the federal level, alcohol is regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). All commercial producers of beer, wine, or spirits in the United States must first receive permission to do so from the TTB before any production can occur. The TTB requires a detailed application that includes full ownership disclosure, background checks for certain owners, waste disposal explanations, and a detailed layout, among several other important application requirements. Depending on the size and type of production, there also may be a bond requirement.

On the state side, Colorado has many different considerations for licensing. There are two types of breweries (manufacturer and brew pub), three types of wineries (manufacturer, limited winery, and vintner’s restaurant), and two types of distilleries (manufacturer and distiller pub). Each of these license types carries various rights and responsibilities of the business. Some require food, some limit the amount of production, some allow on site sales of only your product, some allow other products, some require separate licensing for retail sales, etc. Each of these licenses, however, require a detailed application very similar to the TTB application process.

In addition to the federal and state licensing, alcohol manufacturers must also be concerned with the laws and regulations of their local jurisdiction. Zoning laws often have certain ventilation, testing, and parking requirements for different businesses that must be taken into consideration. The requirements of these zoning laws can often lead to disclosures that must be on the federal and state applications, so it is imperative that all three levels are researched and planned before any one application is submitted.

Not only must you consider each of the federal, state, and local laws when determining your business licensing structure, you must also take into consideration the processing times for each level. The entire process, while not only complex, can be time consuming. At Runco Law, we work with every client to explain the process and timing, help them determine which licensing structure will fit best with their intended operations, and help establish a business structure, lease agreement, and licensing plan to help ensure the long-term success of your operations. If you have any questions on the requirements and process of getting licensed to make beer, wine, or liquor, Contact Us.