How to get a liquor license in Louisiana
Starting a business in Louisiana is a great move for a few reasons—but namely, because of its low labor costs and impressive business incentives. Should you decide to sell liquor at your establishment, you need a Louisiana liquor license. You may also be asked to provide restaurant and bar insurance, business insurance, and a standard occupational license (business license).
To legally sell alcohol in the State of Louisiana, you must be at least 18 years old, have restaurant or retail insurance in place, have a Notice of Intent submitted to the Louisiana Division of Administration (DOA), and possess a state liquor license.
Louisiana offers licenses and permits for restaurants, bars, liquor stores, manufacturers, wholesalers, special events, and caterers. The fees for each can vary, so read on to find out the specifics.
Louisiana liquor license requirements and laws
The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control has liquor license applications for both on-premise and off-premise sales. Your applications may vary if you are a restaurant, bar, microbrewery, or microdistillery. That being said, you will likely need to provide the following information with your on-premise permit application:
- Driver’s license or state ID
- Business name and address
- Proof of residence
- Nature of business
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Owner information
A new license is not something you can obtain overnight, and in Louisiana, it can take up to 35 days.
In Louisiana, you may also be required to obtain a liquor license from your local Alcoholic Beverage Control Licensing Division. For example, in the City of New Orleans, you must provide the following documentation along with your completed application:
- Copy of lease
- Proof of tax clearance from the City Bureau of Revenue
- Plot plan and layout
Local regulations and alcohol server training
If you are an alcohol seller in Louisiana, you will also be required to obtain an alcoholic beverage permit. You can access all permits on the Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control website. You may also be asked to order an inspection by an ATC Agent. The agent will contact you within 24 hours of application approval.
As for regulations on issuance, no permit is granted to establishments within 300 feet or less of a public playground, church or synagogue, public library, school, daycare center, or correctional facility. Be sure to check with your local office for more information on zoning laws.
If you are a vendor, bartender, or server, most cities across the state will also require you to have Louisiana Responsible Vendor Training. According to Louisiana state law, “any employee of a vendor who is authorized to sell or serve alcoholic beverages or tobacco products in the normal course of his or her employment, or deals with customers who purchase or consume alcoholic beverages or tobacco products” must attend the training program and receive a Responsible Vendor Permit. You will obtain a state-issued bar card and server permit at the end of your training. You can find more information on this here.
If you are the owner of an establishment serving alcohol, you may also instruct your servers to enroll in additional training—online courses in alcohol management and mixology. However, these are not required by the state to operate your business, and are simply used to expand your staff’s knowledge on the service of alcohol, especially if you want to prevent your servers from selling to underage patrons.
Can a Louisiana liquor license be transferred?
In short, a permit is not transferable, assignable, or heritable in Louisiana. According to the Louisiana ATC, all permits must be returned to the office of alcohol and tobacco control or surrendered to an agent of the commissioner within 5 days of closure, when the ownership of the business is transferred or the business is terminated.
License and permit renewal
If you need to renew your Louisiana liquor license or permit, you must do so on or before the expiration date. Renewal fees will vary depending on the license or permit.
You can find all the information you need regarding license and permit renewal on the Louisiana ATC website.
Types of Louisiana liquor licenses
There are 9 categories of liquor licenses and permits in Louisiana, and they are as follows:
- Restaurant (Class AR): Issued only to a restaurant establishment whose purpose and primary function is to take orders for and serve food and food items.
- Bar (Class AG): Issued to a retail outlet where beverage alcohol is sold on the premises for consumption by paying customers.
- Restaurant Conditional: Any retail establishment holding a Class AG permit may be issued a restaurant conditional permit if it also meets the requirements for a Class AR permit during the hours from 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
- Microbrewery: This permit authorizes the holder of a Class AG or Class AR permit to engage in brewing beer and other malt beverages at a single location in an amount not to exceed 12,500 barrels during the licensed year.
- Microdistillery: This permit authorizes the holder of a Class A retail permit to engage in the making, distilling, blending, rectifying, or processing of any alcoholic beverage at a single location in an amount not to exceed 12,000 gallons during the licensed year.
- Package Store (Class B): Issued to businesses of at least 500 square feet of public habitable area that sell alcoholic beverages in factory sealed containers for transportation and consumption off the premises.
- Package store (Class C, liquor store): This permit shall be issued to an establishment that operates a place of business where alcoholic beverages are the principal commodity sold for off-premise consumption.
- Manufacturer/Supplier: Issued to any person who personally or through any agent engages in the making, blending, rectifying, or processing of any alcoholic beverage.
- Wine Producer: Issued to any person who, directly or indirectly, personally or through an agency, cultivates and grows grapes, fruits, berries, honey, or vegetables from which wine is produced and bottled from a fermentation.
- Special Events: Issued for events, held at any location, where alcoholic beverages are served as an incidental part of the event for payment rendered or are supplied as part of general admission or other fee.
If you are participating in a special event, the individual city in which you are participating in the event may require additional permits. So, be sure to check with city hall.
Can I get a one-day liquor license in Louisiana?
A one-day liquor license is, essentially, a special event permit. These permits are valid for 3 consecutive days, and the application for this permit must be submitted at least 10 days before the event.
How much does a Louisiana liquor license cost?
The application fee for Louisiana liquor licenses varies depending on the type of license you need. The Louisiana ATC has a full list of liquor license and permit fees and schedules.The specifics of acquiring a liquor license vary by county and city. Contact the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control to determine what liquor license is best. Ask your local officials about business licenses or permits you may need.
You might encounter many obstacles when starting a business in Louisiana, and it may take a few weeks to several months to get your license. But a business essential that is quick and straightforward is liquor liability insurance. Go to Huckleberry to get an insurance policy in less time than it takes to roam around the French Quarter!