Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

Types of Alcohol Licenses

If you are considering a California business in alcohol, there are several hurdles you’ll have to clear with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in CA.  Numerous types of licenses exists, that are all based on what it is you want to do with it. Depending on the purpose of your business, you’ll want to apply for a Non-Retail, On-Sale, or Off-Sale license.  Breweries of all sizes will fall into the Non-Retail category, where many bars and restaurants will fall into the On-Sale category.

Within the Non-Retail category, there are many options to select based on the business purpose.  For example, a small brewery may qualify for a Type 23 license, whereas a someone wanting to import beer and wine would qualify under a Type 09 license.  At the time of this writing, there are approximately 77 different types of licenses issued by ABC – all related to various aspects of the manufacture and distribution of alcoholic beverages in California.  See a list of the most common types of Alcohol licenses, here.

Keep in mind, however, that some licenses have restrictions and issuance limits.  If you are considering taking over an existing business, speak with an attorney about whether or not the license will transfer and ensure you meet qualifications for that transfer.

If you’re planning on getting into the alcohol business in California, one of the most important aspects of your business is proper licensing for the business purpose.  For this, we recommend discussing your goals with us to get you on the right path from the start.