If you’re planning to sell liquor at a festival or other event, you will need to have a temporary liquor license. It might seem like taking your products and setting up a stand somewhere is simple and straightforward, but without a temporary liquor license, your sales at any event outside your establishment will be illegal.
Even if you plan on giving away samples of your products for free somewhere, this can run into legal issues, too. It is technically legal to give away alcoholic drinks for free, but if there’s an entrance free for the event or even just a tip jar, the drinks are considered “not free” and you can get fined.
The need for a temporary liquor license is clear, but you don’t want confusion or stress around the project to rob you of any of the excitement leading up to a promotional event. So, this week, we’re breaking down everything you need to know to answer: how can you get a temporary liquor license?
Do you need a temporary liquor license for an event you’re planning? Read on to find out how to get one.
How to apply for a temporary liquor license
As long you apply with some time to spare, the process can be relatively headache-free. Start your application at the very least 10 days prior to the event. In Texas, applying 7-9 days prior to the event comes with an expedited processing fee of $300. Applying 4-6 days beforehand will cost you $500, and applying 1-3 days beforehand will run you $900. We highly recommend beginning your application process with plenty of time to spare, both to avoid the fee and to avoid running into any critical complications last-minute.
The application along with instructions can be found on the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s website. You might need to include some other documentation along with your application depending on your specific event. For example, you’ll probably need a letter from the property owner, including a contact name and phone number, as well as details of the event location, time, and date. State and local approval will likely also be requested, as well as any sponsorship agreements.
The application can be submitted either in person or by email, and should be submitted to your local office. The office contacts are listed by region on the application instructions document. There are a few of other regulations to check out on that document as well. For example, all the profits from the sale of these alcoholic beverages must go to the permit holder; the alcohol for the event can only be stored at the licensed location; and all alcohol needs to be purchased from the appropriate manufacturer or distributor which is specified, again, in the document.
What can I sell with a temporary permit?
There are multiple kinds of temporary licenses that can be issued, too, depending on your need. Among these, there’s a license specifically for the sale of mixed beverages, and a separate one authorizing the sale of wine and beer. Looking through these different licenses is important to make sure you apply for the license that fits your event and products. You can apply for multiple temporary liquor licenses if need be.
It’s also important to know what constitutes as “selling” alcohol. Technically, you can give alcohol away for free (to adults who are of age) without a license. That being said, “giving away” means that you have to give any adult who walks into the event a free drink. If your event has an entrance fee, the drinks won’t be considered free. If you ask for tips or for donations, the drinks won’t be considered free. However, if your event is a bazar in which purchasing items is not required for entry, and the alcohol is offered independently of any purchase, then those drinks are considered free.
In any case, it’s better to check the details of the document and to check with your local office to make sure you don’t run into any unnecessary and avoidable complications or fines.
Once you have a temporary liquor license, you will need someone to bring the liquor. Zipps Liquor has a huge selection of beer, wine, and liquor for any occasion, and we provide special discounts for large event orders. Learn more about our large event orders, and calculate exactly how much liquor you’ll need to purchase with our drink calculator for parties!