3.25.2021

How Much Does a Liquor License Cost in Texas?

Written by Austin Chegini

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For anyone who’s ever thought of running a restaurant, bar, or nightclub in the state of Texas, serving alcohol is probably a given. But in order to do that, you’ll need to get a liquor license. Even simply storing alcohol may require a permit! 

Keep reading to see how much a liquor license costs in Texas, and what you need to do to obtain one and comply with the Texas alcohol beverage code.

Typical Liquor License Costs in Texas

Liquor license costs range from $25 for a Temporary Auction Permit, all the way up to $17,451 for someone with more than five business locations getting a Manufacturer’s license.

The average cost for a beer license in Texas is around $2,081, while the average cost for a license for any other type of alcohol is $2,283.  

Keep in mind that the range above is only for one type of license. You may be required to have two or more licenses depending on your business type.

It’s important to budget for licensing and permit expenses, especially since many liquor licenses must be renewed every two years in Texas. Some temporary and short-term permits only have a one-time or limited use, and will need to be re-purchased if the event will be repeated at a later date.

Registering for a Liquor License

You have three options when it comes to getting a liquor license in Texas. You can register your business as a retailer, manufacturer, or distributor/wholesaler. Which you register as depends on your business’ relationship with alcohol.

For example, a restaurant or liquor store would register as a retailer, while a winery or brewery would be most likely to register as a manufacturer.

Warehouses and storage facilities could register as either retailers or wholesalers/ distributors, depending on who the end customer is.

Once you’ve nailed down how your business interacts with alcohol, you’ll need to fill out the appropriate liquor license application, depending on whether your business is a retailer, manufacturer, or wholesaler/distributor. 

Completing the License Application

This is the most crucial step to obtaining a liquor license in Texas. You’ll need to fill out the proper packet for a new license or to reinstate an existing license, and you’ll need to ensure that the packet is for the correct type of business (manufacturer, retailer, distributor/wholesaler).

You’ll also need to have a few things in place already before you can complete a Texas liquor license application. For instance, you’ll need a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), which means your business must be registered with the federal government and the state of Texas before you apply for a liquor license.

The application form is very thorough, and typically includes the following information:

  • How the business was financed (in detail)
  • Whether you own/lease the business property
  • All vehicles that would be transporting alcohol (including make, model, year, and license plate information)
  • Whether someone listed on the application has been involved in certain specified illegal activity
  • Names and contact information of all owners/proprietors

The liquor license application form covers much more than we’ve listed here, and can be fairly complex for new business owners to wrap their heads around. It may be wise to consult with a business attorney licensed in the state of Texas to ensure you complete the application correctly.

While waiting for the license to arrive, you may be required to post a 60-day notice prominently on your business property, alerting others to the fact that your business will serve/sell alcohol.

You’ll also need to determine what type of liquor license you need to apply for.

Types of Texas Liquor Licenses

Believe it or not, there are 43 different types of liquor licenses and permits that may be required in Texas depending on your business. In addition, you may need to get more than one type of liquor license. 

For example, your business may need one liquor license to serve alcoholic beverages and a separate liquor license to transport alcohol to the premises. 

A few common licenses include:

  • B – Brewer’s Permit: Grants permission to produce ale and malt
  • BA – Manufacturer’s License: Grants permission to produce alcohol, beer, and liquor
  • BB – General Distributor’s License: Grants permission to sell beer to distributors, local distributors, private clubs, and retailers.
  • BE – Retail Dealer’s On Premise License: Permits the sale of beer for consumption on or off premises.
  • BF – Retail Dealer’s Off Premise License: Permits the sale of sell beer to be consumed off the business’s premises.
  • BG – Wine and Beer Retailer’s Permit: Allows the sales of beer, ale, malt liquor, and wine not more than 14 percent or 17 percent. On premise consumption requires seating. 
  • BI – Importer’s License: Permits the importation of beer from outside of Texas.
  • MB – Mixed Beverage Permit: Grants permission to sell mixed drinks from unsealed containers. Allows the on premise consumption of wine, beer, ale, and malt liquor in containers of any legal size.
  • V – Wine and Beer Retailer’s Permit – Excursion Boat: Allows excursion boats to sell beer and wine (up to 14 percent or 17 percent) for immediate consumption.
  • Z – Wine Bottler’s Permit: Allows the importation of wine from Nonresident Sellers. The permitholder can change the bottle, label, and packaging of this wine before listing it for sale. 

Failure to apply for all necessary licenses could delay your ability to sell, transport, manufacture, and even store alcohol. It’s critical that you understand how many separate licenses your business will need before you complete the application process.

Plan Ahead Before Opening

It can be easy to get ahead of yourself at this stage of the process, and many business owners have made the tempting mistake of opening before they’ve received their official liquor license from the state of Texas. After all, it’s only red tape, right?

Not exactly. Just because you’ve sent off the application, that doesn’t mean it will automatically be approved. Changes may need to be made to the application or the business plan/model before the state will allow the license to issue. Or there could be other concerns that may need to be addressed in order to obtain the license.

Even if everything goes smoothly with the application process, it could still take 50 days (or more) to receive the license(s), so you need to plan your opening date around when you can reasonably expect to receive the license. 

If you open your doors too soon, you run the risk of having your business shut down before it’s really even started, since operating without the right type of liquor license is illegal in the state of Texas.

Starting a bar in Texas? Choose POS System That Works for You

Now that you’ve taken care of all the paperwork, and you’ve finally received your long-awaited liquor license, you’re ready to think about engaging with customers. One of the key ways to retain customers and bring new business in the door is to provide them with a top-notch point of sale experience.

Any retailer in the alcohol industry, such as hotels and bars, will need a strong point of sale system to provide customers with a safe and secure payment process.

Unfortunately, in the excitement of decorating a space, ordering supplies, marketing the business, and hiring employees, a robust and secure point of sale system often gets overlooked. After all, it doesn’t do much good to get customers in the door (or to your online checkout screen) if you can’t provide them with safe and secure payment methods.

Epos Now offers several outstanding solutions for businesses, including mobile point-of-sale options for both Android and Apple tablets. Our systems give you the freedom to accept multiple payment types, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

Whether you have the hardware in place already and only need POS software, or you need an entire system, Epos Now has you covered. Best of all, we have been independently rated by US News and World Report as one of the best POS providers in the country.

With us, you can get down to the business of manufacturing, transporting, storing, selling, or serving alcohol, knowing that you’ve got a great business plan, your state and federal legal requirements have been met, your finances are in order, and you’ve got a solid point of sale system in place. 

Contact Epos Now today to learn more.

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