Frequently Asked Questions

 

These are ABC's most frequently asked questions about:

LICENSES

Q. 4. What is an alcoholic beverage license?

A. A license issued under the Act is a permit to do that which would otherwise be unlawful. A license is not a right, but is a privilege, which can be suspended or revoked by administrative action because of violation of the Act or departmental rule. (Sections 23300 and 23355)

Q. 5. What are the types of retail licenses?

A.

  • On-Sale General-authorizes the sale of all types of alcoholic beverages: namely, beer, wine and distilled spirits, for consumption on the premises, and the sale of beer and wine for consumption off the premises.
  • Off-Sale General-authorizes the sale of all types of alcoholic beverages for consumption off the premises in original, sealed containers.
  • On-Sale Beer and Wine-authorizes the sale of all types of wine and malt beverages (e.g., beer, porter, ale, stout and malt liquor) for consumption on and off the premises.
  • Off-Sale Beer and Wine-authorizes the sale of all types of wine and malt beverages for consumption off the premises in original, sealed containers.
  • On-Sale Beer-authorizes the sale of malt beverages for consumption on and off the premises. (Sections 23393, 23394, 23396 and 23399)

Q. 6. What is a "bona fide public eating place"?

A. Licensed premises that are maintained in good faith and used for the regular service of meals to patrons. The premises must have suitable kitchen facilities and supply an assortment of foods commonly ordered at various hours of the day. (Sections 23038 and 23787)

Q. 7. May a person who holds a license for a bona fide public eating place lease out the food concession?

A. Yes. Upon notification to ABC, such a licensee may sublet the sale and service of meals. The licensee shall continue to be responsible for any violations caused or permitted by the food lessee on the licensed premises. The licensee shall not sublet to a person who does not have the qualifications of a 1icensee. (Section 23787 and Rules 57.7 and 57.8)

Q. 8. What is meant by "public premises"?

A. No person under 21 years of age is allowed on public premises.
There are two classes of public premises:

  1. As to on-sale general and on-sale beer and wine licenses, this means premises maintained and operated for the sale and service of alcoholic beverages to the public for consumption on the premises, and in which food is not sold or served to the public as in a bona fide eating place, although food products may be sold or served incidentally to the sale or service of alcoholic beverages.
  2. As to on-sale beer licenses, this means premises maintained and operated for sale or service of beer to the public for consumption on the premises, and in which no food is sold or served. An on-sale beer licensed premises on which food (sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, tacos, salads or similar short orders) is prepared and sold for consumption on the premises is not an on-sale beer public premises. (Section 23029 and Rule 67.1)

Q. 9. What beverages may the holder of an on-sale license sell for consumption off the licensed premises in original, sealed containers?

A.

  1. Unless restricted by special license conditions, on-sale general and on-sale beer and wine licensees may sell all types of wine and malt beverages.
  2. Unless restricted by special license conditions, on-sale beer licensees may sell malt beverages. The privilege of selling distilled spirits "to go" comes only with an off-sale general license. (Section 23401)

Q. 10. Can any person obtain an alcoholic beverage license?

A. ABC may refuse to issue a license to any person who has violated the ACT, has a disqualifying criminal record, or is otherwise disqualified.

Q. 11. When is a duplicate license required?

A. An on-sale general licensee who maintains on his/her licensed premises more than one room in which a fixed counter or service bar is regularly maintained and at which distilled spirits are served to the public must apply for a duplicate license and pay a full annual fee for each such license. A duplicate license is not transferable by itself. (Sections 24042 and 24042.5)

Q. 12. When a license certificate is lost or destroyed, how may the licensee obtain a replacement?

A. Application must be made to ABC for a replacement license, and a fee of $5.50 paid for each one. (Section 24047)

Q. 13. May ABC deny the renewal of an existing license?

A. Yes, if the licensee has not paid an annual license fee. Otherwise, every license now in effect (other than temporary retail permits and special daily licenses) is renewable unless such license has been revoked after hearing on an accusation. (Section 24048)

Q. 14. When must licenses be renewed?

A. It is the responsibility of the licensee to renew his license whether or not he has received a renewal notice from ABC.
All licenses may be renewed by paying the required renewal fee before the license expires.
Following the expiration of a license, the licensee may legally operate for an additional 60 days during which time the license may be renewed by paying the renewal fee and a 50% penalty. If the renewal fee and penalty fee has not been paid within 60 days of the expiration of a license, the license is canceled and the licensee may not exercise any privileges of the license. The licensee does have and additional 30 days in which to reactivate the license by paying the renewal fee and a 100% penalty. If the penalty and renewal fee are not paid by the end of the 30th day following cancellation, the license is revoked. (Section 24048)

Q. 15. How soon does the license have to be put in use?

A. Any license must be in use within 30 days of the date of issuance, unless approval is received from ABC for premises under construction. (Section 24040)

Q. 16. May temporary licenses be obtained for picnics and social events?

A. ABC may issue a special daily license at $25 per day for either beer or wine, or at $50 per day for both, to a group conducting a picnic, social, or similar gathering, or a daily on-sale general license authorizing the sale of distilled spirits, wine and beer for $25 per day to qualified non-profit organizations. (Sections 24045 and 24045.1 and Rules 59 and 59.5)

Q. 17. Where may alcoholic beverages be stored when there is no room for them on the licensed premises?

A. Tax-paid beer and wine may be stored anywhere. Distilled spirits may be stored in a licensed public warehouse, or petition may be made to ABC for approval of a private warehouse. this private warehouse must be located in the same county as the licensed premises. ABC's approval is necessary before placing the distilled spirits in storage in a private warehouse. (Section 23106 and Rule 76)

Q. 18. How many feet must licensed premises be from a church, a school, or residences?

A. The law says ABC may deny any retail license located (a) within the immediate vicinity of churches and hospitals, or (b) within at least 600 feet of schools, public playgrounds and nonprofit youth facilities. Generally, ABC will deny a license in the above situations when there is evidence that normal operation of the licensed premises will be contrary to public welfare and morals. Mere proximity by itself is not sufficient to deny the license.
ABC will not license a new retail location within 100 feet of a residence unless the applicant can establish that the operation of the proposed premises will not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of the property by residents. (Section 23789 and Rule 61.4)

Q. 19. May certain conditions be placed upon the exercise of a license?

A. Yes. ABC, at the request of the applicant or licensee, may restrict the hours of sale, advertising, entertainment, or any condition that appears to alleviate objections to the premises operation. Such conditions have been imposed restricting licensed operations in the vicinity of churches, schools, and residential areas. Also, conditions relating to the personal qualifications of the applicant or licensee may be endorsed upon the license. (Sections 23800-23805 and Rules 61.3-61.4)
A licensee may petition for the removal or modification of a condition. The fee for the petition is $100. By law, ABC must notify the local governing body of any petition to remove or modify conditions. the local governing body has 30 days in which to object to the modification or removal. A hearing is then held if the local government objects.
When conditions have been imposed on a license, where otherwise the license would be denied, for reasons relating to the premises, no petition for removal of the conditions may be filed within one year from the date the license was issued, or from the date a similar petition was denied. However, ABC may, at its discretion, accept a petition to remove conditions, if the reasons which caused the imposition of conditions no longer exists. (Section 23803 and Rule 66)

Q. 20. What is meant by license "Limitation" ?

A. Since 1939 the number of certain retail licenses has been limited. At present, the ratio is one on-sale general license for each 2,000 persons in the county in which the premises are situated and one off-sale general license for each 2,500 persons.

Q. 21. Is there a limit on the number of off-sale beer and wine licenses that may be issued in cities or counties?

A. The number of off-sale beer and wine licenses is limited to one for each 2,500 people in a city or county, and the number of beer and wine licenses that can be issued in a city or county in combination with off-sale general licenses in limited to one for each 1,250 people. (Section 23817.5)

Q. 22. What organizations are eligible for a club license?

A. Types of clubs such as golf, swimming, tennis, press, yachting, rod and gun, riding, bar associations, airlines club, medical associations, social and others may be eligible for a club license providing such club meets the standards established by law as to membership, premises ownership, time of origin and services available. (Sections 23425-23435, 23320.1, 23399.2, 23825, 24072.5 and 24078)

Q. 23. Are such clubs restricted to on-sale privileges?

A. Yes, Club licenses and veterans' club licenses may not make sales for consumption off the premises. (Sections 23431, 23453 and 23437)