Q. 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 an 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.


Q. 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.


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

A. ABC may issue a special daily license at $15 per day for either beer or wine, or at $30 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.


Q. 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. 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.


Q. 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.

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.


Q. 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. 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.


Q. 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.


Q. 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.


For more information, please visit www.abc.ca.gov/.