If you own an establishment (such as a bar or restaurant) and you want to sell alcohol, you need a license to do so. You might think that simply filling out the right forms and paying the fees will get you that license, but, unfortunately, that isn’t the end of the process. Obtaining an Ohio liquor license involves more than that.

So what does it take to get a liquor license?

While you do need to fill out the right form and pay the fees, in addition to that, you must get through the following steps:

  • The first hurdle involves availability. The state issues only so many licenses in a particular taxing district. The Ohio Liquor Control Commission holds your application until an opening becomes available.
  • Once processing begins on your application, the governmental body (county commissioners, city council or county trustees) of the location for which you apply and its local law enforcement office (sheriff’s office or police chief’s office) receive and review it.
  • A compliance officer with the licensing office inspects your location and the area within 500 feet of it. Any of the following establishments located within that radius have the right to weigh in on your application:
    • Churches
    • Playgrounds
    • Schools
    • Public parks
    • Libraries
  • The Board of Elections for the area in which your establishment lies informs the licensing division whether the area is “wet or dry.”
  • If a governmental agency, or one of the establishments listed herein, files an objection to your application, you will receive notification of a date and time for a hearing.

If all goes well, you could receive your liquor license between 15 days and 12 weeks after processing begins on your application. However, if someone files an objection to your application, you might not receive your license until the completion of all appeals.

Should I hire an attorney to help me with this process?

Any time you deal with a bureaucracy, the frustration level seems to increase dramatically, especially if you attempt to get through the red tape on your own. It would likely benefit you and your business to enlist the aid of an attorney to help you through this process. The potential for obstacles at any point during could delay or derail your plans and ultimately cost you more money in lost revenue. An attorney who regularly assists people with licensing matters could help identify any potential issues and come up with a plan to combat them as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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