While starting any new business requires careful planning and meticulous preparation, the myriad of regulation surrounding obtaining a Colorado liquor license requires special attention. There are several additional regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over alcohol licensees, and they all have different timelines and requirements for licensing. Having a well-developed plan and all of your documents prepared ahead of time can significantly speed up the process of opening your doors.

The type of license you intend to operate will have a significant impact on what regulatory agencies you must report to. Just like any other business, your company will have to register with the Colorado Secretary of State, IRS, and Colorado Department of Revenue. In addition, each city and county has its own set of tax registrations necessary for every business. Depending on the amount of construction being completed, again, each city and county has its own requirements for applications and reports. This process, in itself, requires careful coordination and planning with landlords, architects, and contractors to ensure that everyone understands the timelines for operations.

In addition to the normal business concerns, the different types of liquor licenses require reports to different agencies. Manufacturers and wholesalers require registration with the TTB and the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division. Retailers require registration with the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division and the local licensing authority with jurisdiction over your location. Some operations require some sort of reporting to all three agencies. A Colorado brew pub, for example, is considered a retailer with manufacturing privileges. This requires registration with the TTB, Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division, and local licensing authority. A tavern, restaurant, or liquor store must only register with the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division and the local licensing authority. Depending on the intended operations, a brewery, winery, or distillery will have at least two of the agencies, sometimes all three to work with.

Each agency will have its own application process, and its own timeline for processing the applications. By having all of your documentation ready ahead of time, the application process can go faster. Without everything properly prepared, the application process can take 6-12 months or longer! At the very minimum, each alcohol license application will require:

  • Proper application forms for each governing agency
  • Proof of company registration with the Secretary of State
  • Proof of federal, state, and local tax registrations
  • Organization documents for your company (Bylaws, Operating Agreement, Minutes, Etc.)
  • Background checks for certain owners and corporate officers
  • Copies of loan documents and bank information
  • Detailed premises diagrams outlining liquor licensed operations

In addition to the above, several agencies have specific requirements depending on your type of license. These can include environmental reporting, information about food production and sales, zoning use permits, and petitioning of needs and desires, just to name a few. By having all of the necessary documents ready before submission, it will not only help speed the licensing process, but help set your company up for long-term success. The liquor license attorneys at Runco Law have the knowledge and experience to work with you to make sure you understand the entire process and have everything you need based on your desired operations. Contact Us to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific liquor licensing needs.