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How to Get a New Jersey Liquor License

Our Former New Jersey Deputy Attorney General has handled hundreds of ABC cases. Let us put our experience to work for you.

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NJ Liquor License Transfer Attorney

Buying or Selling a Liquor License in New Jersey

The purchase and sale of a liquor license is not nearly as straightforward and simple as purchasing residential property. Instead, to successfully buy a liquor license in New Jersey, you may be subject to a criminal, personal and financial background check from your local police department and a public hearing before your municipal council. These procedures are incredibly intrusive. Additionally, even if you satisfied all the necessary procedures discussed in detail below, you may still have your proposed liquor license transfer denied by your governing ABC board. If so, you will need to file and argue your appeal before the Office of Administrative Law and the Director of the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.  The law governing the application, sale, purchase, renewal and transfer of New Jersey liquor licenses is complex and fraught with obstacles. Do not leave your liquor license purchase in the hands of just any attorney. Contact the New Jersey ABC liquor license transfer attorneys at Proetta, Oliver & Fay at (732) 858-5857. Our feature ABC attorney is a former Deputy Attorney General with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. He will handle your potential sale or purchase of a liquor license from start to finish. Call today and receive your consultation.

New Jersey Liquor License Law

New Jersey liquor licenses are assets of considerable value. Due to population cap restrictions, most towns and cities cannot create and bid any “new” retail consumption (restaurant/bar) or retail distribution (liquor store) licenses. This means that the only way for a potential buyer to obtain a licensee is through a person-to-person transfer. Depending on your geographical region, the liquor license you seek to purchase or sell may reach upwards of seven figures. Alcohol sales are often considered to be “recession proof.” It is for this reason that the license to sell alcohol comes at such a high price. Allow our firm to negotiate the terms of the sale, draft provisions to protect your interests and assist in the application process with your municipality.

Types of Liquor Licenses

While there are several types of liquor licenses, the sale and transfer of licensees are generally restricted to Class “C” licenses. These include:

  • Plenary Retail Consumption License “33”
    • Bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, go-go bars/strip club, etc.
  • Plenary Retail Distribution License “44”
    • Liquor store
  • Club License “36”
  • Seasonal Retail Consumption License
    • i.e. D’Jais in Belmar and Parker House in Sea Girt
  • Plenary Retail Consumption License with Broad Package Privilege “32”

Who Can Own a Liquor License in New Jersey?

In order to be even be a qualified applicant for a liquor license in New Jersey, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. 18 years of age or older;
  2. No conviction for any crime of moral turpitude;
  3. Full disclosure of all beneficial interests in the License to be transferred;
  4. No ownership of nor an officer or director of any corporation that is a New Jersey alcoholic beverage manufacturer or wholesaler;
  5. The application cannot have an interest in more than two retail licenses, except as otherwise permitted under N.J.S.A. 33:1-12;
  6. Must not be ineligible for licensure for 2 years or more because of prior revocation; and
  7. Not be a law enforcement officer or any other person whose powers and duties include the enforcement of the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control laws or regulations, or holds an interest in nor is an officer in a for-profit corporation in which any peace or police officer has a direct or indirect interest.

What is the Process to Transfer a Liquor License?

If you are seeking to transfer a liquor license, the local municipal authority will require you to produce the following items, though this is not an exclusive list:

  • 12-Page Application submitted in triplicate (all original signatures) for the following types of transfers:
    • Person-to-Person, Place-to-Place, or Person-to-Person and Place-to-Place.
  • 10% of Annual License Renewal Fee for Person-to-Person transfer or 10% of Annual License Renewal Fee for Place-to-Place transfer.
  • 20% of Annual License Renewal Fee for both Person-to-Person and Place-to-Place transfers.
  • $200 Check or Money Order payable to: State of New Jersey, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control
  • Consent to Transfer (Consent of Sale), signed by license holder and notarized.
  • Disclosure Statement of applicant (source of funding) for license purchase.
  • Federal and State Fingerprint Reports from Police.
  • Additional Investigative Report from Police.
  • Detailed sketch of premises and proposed licensed area (including photo of outside of premises).
  • Affidavit of Publication, Notice of Intent to Transfer, published twice, one week apart, giving the public the opportunity to communicate any objections to the transfer, in writing, to the Clerk of the Local Issuing Authority.
  • Certificate of Sales Tax Authority must be submitted and Alcoholic Beverage Retail Licensee Clearance Certificate for Transfer must be obtained by Buyer.
  • Application for Bulk Sale Permit (if necessary).
  • Resolution of Transfer passed by issuing authority.
  • License amendment to reflect new ownership and generation change/application.

What is a New Jersey Liquor License Transfer Hearing?

If an objection to your license transfer is made or if the municipality/ABC Board decide to not permit the transfer, then a hearing is required. These hearings will allow each party to put forth their arguments as to why the license should or should not be transferred. Depending on the reason for denial, you may have solid grounds on which to appeal their decision. These hearings require a strong understanding of ABC case law. Allow our firm to assist you in these public hearings and ensure that your rights aren’t being violated.

NJ ABC Lawyers

If you are interested in obtaining a New Jersey Liquor License, call the ABC liquor license attorneys. Our firm concentrates its practice on liquor law and liquor license matters. We can offer guidance and industry knowledge required to successfully buy or sell your liquor license. Our law firm can be reached  24/7 at (732) 858-5857.

Contact Us

Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.

Proetta, Oliver & Fay

100 Horizon Center Boulevard,
Hamilton, NJ 08691
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242 10th Street Suite 103
Jersey City, NJ 07302
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20 Commerce Drive, Room 135
Cranford, New Jersey 07016
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3840 Park Avenue, Suite 202A
Edison, New Jersey 08820
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180 Kings Highway,
Middletown Township, NJ 07748
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525 Highway 73, Suite 104,
Marlton, NJ 08053
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