4. Apply for a state alcoholic beverage permit
Along with applying at the TTB, you will also need to apply at the appropriate office in your state. This could be the Alcohol and Tobacco Division (in Indiana), the Department of Revenue (in Colorado), the Liquor Control Commission, or the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Division (in Oregon), to name just a few.
You will be requested to supply a number of documents when applying for your license. Try applying at the TTB and in your state at the same time so as to minimize delays as much as possible.
First, you will have to decide what kind of license you need. The differences between the licenses are based on distinctions about the purpose and goal of your business, as well as the way in which it will operate. Whether you will need a supplier, which includes manufacturer, importer or wholesaler, or retailer license is up to you.
The amount of product that you intend to produce may also make a difference in your license, as well as in your licensing fee, as is the case in Washington state. For another example, see Colorado state’s requirements on obtaining a liquor license.
Some of the documentation you may be required to provide is:
● Liquor license application
● Business information
● Proof of ownership or lease and statement of funding (as already discussed)
● Floor plans (in compliance with state regulations, depending on the type of license you are applying for)
● A brewer’s bond (if applicable)
● Individual history forms
● Other documentation (related to lottery machines or food services requirements, if applicable)
5. Post a local brewer’s bond
An additional and important note must be made about brewer’s bonds. A brewer’s surety bond may or may not be required in your state when you apply for a license. For example, the brewer’s bond in Colorado was removed a number of years ago. Conversely, Indiana requires breweries to post a $10,000 bond in addition to the brewer’s bond posted with the TTB application.
The point of every surety bond is to provide protection to the state, the public or individual consumers. In the case of brewer’s bonds, these are usually sales tax bonds which guarantee that manufacturers and sellers of alcoholic beverages will pay tax on their sales.
In other words, a brewer’s bond is a form of financial guarantee. It guarantees that if a brewer does not pay their taxes, the bond will compensate for the losses they have incurred. If you’ve never posted a bond but are required to post one now, you should read more about how surety bonds work in order to understand their purpose.
So, don’t forget to check whether you need to post a brewer’s bond when you are preparing your documentation for your state brewers license.
6. Wait for your application to be approved
There are numerous steps that have not been included here because they differ from state to state. The tips above, however, are applicable in every state to some degree. The details are something that you must research thoroughly when you set out to open your brewery.
Don’t forget to get financial, legal or other expert advice whenever you’re not sure about the requirements. This can help you avoid costly errors.
Once you’ve gone through all of the above steps, all that remains is to patiently wait until all institutions, agencies and departments process your applications and give you the green light.
Was this helpful to you? What is your experience with opening a brewery? Was is complicated or easy? Are there any highly peculiar requirements in your state which should be included in this article? Please, leave us a comment, we would be happy to get your feedback!
Todd Bryant — the president and founder of Bryant Surety Bonds. He is a surety bonds expert with years of experience in helping business owners get bonded and start their business.