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How to Sell Alcohol in a Retail Store

Get the good times rolling at your retail store. Get a liquor license and start selling alcohol.


  • : Do not sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.
  • Step 1: Locate the ABC Locate the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in your state to get a liquor license.
  • TIP: Obtain a federal liquor license for your retail store only if you are a liquor wholesaler, exporter, importer, or producer.
  • Step 2: Ask about eligibility Ask the Alcohol Beverage Control office for eligibility requirements, and provide the office with the necessary information and materials. Requirements can even include taking a beverage server training course.
  • Step 3: Check zoning regulations Check the local zoning regulations to make sure the sale of alcohol is allowed in the area.
  • Step 4: Buy a liquor license Buy an existing liquor license through a broker. Shop around to various brokers to find one with the most experience in buying and selling licenses.
  • TIP: Hire an expediter to help you through the process of getting state and local approval to sell alcohol in your retail store.
  • Step 5: Pay taxes Pay any necessary taxes on the sale of alcohol if it is required by your state or local government.
  • Step 6: Get information on potential customers Contact national and regional alcohol suppliers to get information on what potential customers in your area prefer to drink.
  • Step 7: Set up the selection Arrange your alcohol selection to fit with your customer's demands, and successfully sell alcohol in your store.
  • FACT: The world's oldest bottle of whiskey, thought to be at least 150 years old, was sold at an auction for 15 million pounds.

You Will Need

  • Liquor license
  • Broker
  • National and regional liquor sales numbers
  • Federal license (optional)
  • Expediter (optional)

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