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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main types of liquor licenses?

Although there are others, the main types of liquor licenses are restaurant liquor licenses, eating place (deli) licenses, hotel liquor licenses, club liquor licenses, importing distributor licenses and distributor liquor license. The most common license is the restaurant liquor license, which are held by fine dining restaurants and local bars. These licensees must have a food service component. Importing distributor and distributor licenses may sell beer and malt beverages, in case lots, to other licensees and the general public.

Can a liquor license be moved to another location?

Restaurant liquor licenses, eating place (deli) licenses, hotel licenses and club licenses may be transferred only within the municipality for which is currently licensed. Importing distributor and distributor licenses may be transferred anywhere within he county in which it is issued.

How much does a liquor license cost?

There is no fixed price for a liquor license in Pennsylvania. In most municipalities in Pennsylvania, because of the quota law, the only way to obtain a liquor license is by purchasing an existing license. The sales price of license is dictated entirely by the market based on supply and demand. Depending on location and the type of license, licenses have been sold from $5,000 to $400,000.

How much are the filing fees related to a liquor license transfer?

The exact fee for each transaction depends on fees charged by the State for any particular transaction will range between $700 and $2000 depending on the type of license, the location and the desire for ancillary permits such as Sunday sales and Amusement Permit. You will also have to secure a bond to accompany the application which will cost approximately $100.

How long does it take to get a liquor license?

As a general rule, a license transfer application can be expected to take between 60 and 90 days for the filing of the application to PLCB approval. The better prepared you are for the investigation, the quicker you can expect approval.

Can a liquor license be moved near a school, church or other licensee?

Proximity of churches, schools and other licenses can, but will not necessarily, prevent the transfer of a liquor license. The Liquor Code gives the Liquor Control Board the discretion to deny the transfer of any liquor license to a place located within 200 feet from any current licensee or 300 feet from any school or religious institution. The existence of one these institutions does not automatically prevent a license from being transferred to such a premises. The Liquor Control Board has the power to approve the transfer, despite the existence of one of these institutions and even over its objection, but it must be convinced.

Are there minimum requirements on buildings where a liquor license can be placed?

Restaurant liquor licenses must have a minimum of 400 square feet with a kitchen, tables and chairs and sufficient food to serve 30 patrons. An Eating Place license must have 300 square feet but can only sell beer and other malt beverages. Any building, proposed to be licensed as an importing distributor, must have a minimum of 2,500 square feet in floor space. A distributor licensee must have a minimum of 1,000 square feet in floor space.

Is it hard to get a liquor license?

For a qualified applicant, putting a license into a qualified premises, it is not hard to get a liquor license. The nature of the Board's investigation review of applications takes several months but all proper applications are approved.

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