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You are required to apply for a temporary liquor license as early as a month before the event so that your license is issued in time for the event.

When Do I Need a Liquor License for My Special Event?

If you are planning to host an event where liquor will be sold such as a wedding or graduation party, then you will first need to get approved for a liquor license before you inform your guests that you’ll be serving their favorite alcoholic drinks. If the drinks will not be on sale, a temporary liquor license is not necessary.

A liquor license is also required for special events such as charity parties where liquor will be provided, and money is received directly or indirectly for the liquor.

Not all State Laws on liquor are the same, and there are some states like Arizona that require any event where alcohol will be purchased, stored or served to be licensed.

In Oregon, any event that is admitting guests at a fee and will be serving alcohol requires a special events permit.

The number of permits you are required to get depends on the variety of drinks you will be serving and the type of event. The State of New York requires a temporary permit if you are serving beer, cider and/or wine. There is a different permit if the event is a charitable one and yet another one if it will go on through the night. If a club is catering the event and will be serving alcohol, they will need to get a temporary liquor license for that. Catering companies also require catering permits. The Alcohol Beverage Law of NY states that a specific location can have a maximum of 4 permits for wine, beer, and cider.

How Do I Apply for a Temporary Liquor License?

You may apply for a temporary liquor license either physically or online depending on the availability of online application in your state.

Some states have online portals that are exclusive to special events permits. To know if your State is one of these you can consult the services of a temporary liquor license lawyer.

The process of applying for a special events permit is simpler and shorter than applying for a permanent liquor license. In some states, it might take 10 days while in other states it could take 30 days. Knowing the limit is critical so that you can apply for and get your liquor license in time for your event.

How Long will My Temporary Liquor License Last?

You may apply for a permit for the duration of your event. The expiry time for your permit varies by state and county.

Temporary permits in the State of Ohio last until 1 AM on the day after the event is scheduled to end.

Is There a Limit to the Number of Temporary Permits You Can be Issued in a Year?

There is usually no limit to the number of licenses you can be given in a year in most states. However, if the location of your event has the reached the maximum number of permits acceptable, then you will not be given a permit.

Some states like California require you to contact your county to check whether a permit is required at a county level. If you do not comply with county requirements for special permits, the State will not issue you with a permit.

There is a limit to the number of licenses that can be issued for a specific amount of money. In Georgia, for example, you may get 6 licenses issues in a year for $25. Any permits beyond that will attract additional fees.

Do I Risk a Penalty if I Don’t get a Temporary Liquor License?

Yes, you risk a penalty if you sell or serve alcohol at an event without a liquor license. If you are a catering company that has a permanent liquor license, then chances are that you do not need to apply for a temporary liquor license.

Penalties include fines and being blacklisted for a period of time where you will be denied temporary liquor permits.


Anyone hoping to serve or sell alcohol in their New York business must apply for a liquor license from the state prior to beginning the sale and/or service of any alcoholic beverage. State laws require these licenses are displayed in all businesses at all times, and they must be up-to-date and valid. It’s against federal law to sell or provide alcohol to anyone at a place of business without a license, and that’s just the beginning of New York’s strict liquor laws. The state also requires all residents adhere to the laws regarding the age of any patron looking to purchase alcohol in any establishment.

If you’re opening a business, buying one that’s already in business, or hoping to begin the service of liquor sales in your existing business expansion, it’s time to hire an attorney to help you with the process. The liquor license application is long, it’s complicated, and the process is made even lengthier when the application is improperly filled out and returned to the state. Rather than risking denial, you want to hire an attorney who can fill out the paperwork on your behalf without any mistakes or inconsistencies.

Temporary Liquor License Permits

The State of New York is serious about their liquor license laws, and this applies to temporary permits. Rather than making business owners wait months to obtain a license, there are a few rules in place that might allow you to earn a temporary license while you sell and serve alcohol during the application process. This is not something that’s available to any or everyone. A temporary liquor license is only available to someone who purchases an existing business with a liquor license already in place.

Unlike many other states, the State of New York does not allow its patrons to transfer existing liquor licenses to other businesses or owners. If you buy a restaurant, for example, that already has a liquor license in place, you do not get to buy the license. It is not included in the sale of the business, and you may not use it. You may, however, ask your lawyer to file paperwork for a temporary license so you don’t have to shut down or change the business at all while you wait for your own license application to pull through.

It’s imperative you do this right away. Do not wait until the sale of the business, even if it’s a waist training business, is complete and you are the official owner. Have your attorney begin drafting the paperwork for a temporary liquor license permit the moment you place an offer on the business and the sale is being finalized. You want the temporary license in place the moment you open the doors as the new owner, and you do not want the interruption of liquor sales and service to occur.

Your temporary license is only valid for a predetermined amount of time. You must know ahead of time how long you can use it, what you can use it for, and when the license is no longer valid. Your business faces serious consequences if you continue to sell liquor or serve it to anyone after the temporary license expires if your new one has yet to arrive. Your attorney’s job is to figure all of this out for you so that you’re not forced to spend time wondering how much longer you can do business.

Call an Attorney

If you are applying for a liquor license in New York, you must get a temporary beforehand or risk running your business in a way that patrons don’t appreciate. Let an attorney help you with this to expedite the process. Even one small mistake in your application can push the license process back and interrupt your business. Let someone who knows the law and how to properly fill out the application do it for you. It’s not just helpful to you because you don’t have to sit down and fill out all this paperwork. It’s helpful to you when it’s done correctly, and your attorney’s help can make the process go faster and much smoother. That’s good news in New York’s liquor license application law.

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