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A Guide to getting a Liquor License in India

Trying to get a liquor license in India, can be a long and tedious process. Going by states in India, every place has different requirements and licensing procedures for obtaining a liquor license, to sell alcohol. Understanding the general steps to apply for a liquor license can help in making the process easier and faster. Read on, to know more about Liquor laws & Liquor License in India!
Written by:
Mehak Sharma
Published on
27-Aug-19

For more adept information or legal help regarding the procedure of getting a liquor license in India, connect to us for an expert legal consultation.

Getting a liquor license basically means that one gets a permit to sell alcohol and alcoholic beverages. If your business has a hand in the distribution, manufacturing, or sale of alcohol, you need to apply for a liquor license online. That includes businesses from restaurants, bars, hotels, private clubs, and/or other establishments where alcohol is available.

One of the crucial ways to make profits in a restaurant business is by selling liquor which requires getting a liquor license. Acquiring a retail liquor license can increase the profit margin of the restaurant because alcohol and beer have low labour cost and high-profit margins.

The state government has framed various rules and regulations that one needs to follow to apply for a liquor license. The laws to get a license of liquor varies from state to state and from city to city.

Table of Contents:

  1. What does a Liquor License do?
  2. Legalities involved to sell alcohol in India
  3. What are the different types of Liquor Licenses?
  4. How can I get a Liquor License?
  5. Liquor License Laws and Rules
  6. What are the requirements for a Liquor License?
  7. How long does a Liquor License last?
  8. How much does a Liquor License cost in India?
  9. How can we help you?

What does a Liquor License do?

Liquor license regulates:

  • Businesses allowed to sell alcohol

  • When and where businesses can sell alcohol

  • The quantity of alcohol being sold at a time

  • The alcohol charges allotted by businesses

  • The type of alcoholic beverages sold

  • To who alcohol can be sold

  • Businesses permitted to manufacture and distribute alcohol

get a liquor license

Legalities involved to sell alcohol in India

In order to sell alcohol in India, one needs to procure a liquor license. Usually, liquor stores, pubs, clubs, discos, bars, hotels, and restaurants own license to sell alcohol.

So, the sellers are required to hold a license to sell alcohol, otherwise, the selling of alcohol is illegal and prohibited until registration for a liquor license is done.

In India, any establishment that serves alcohol must have a valid liquor license. The agency that approves any liquor license registration varies from state to state, but even for registration of foreign liquor bar license, every government regulates alcohol sales to prevent minors from purchasing spirits, wine, beer, and liquor. Your town might have special restrictions before the pertinent agency approves your license and you have all the liquor license requirements.

For instance, the requirements for a liquor license varies in small towns where they often only approve a new license when the population grows.

According to the Licensing Act 2003, you need a license to sell alcohol and this includes giving away free alcohol as it is considered an incentive to purchase or that it is included in your pricing structure.

The license requirement for online selling of wine liquor in India is mandatory.

Before starting a liquor business, we have to know about the License or Government regulations, and legal things which are one of the most important factors before starting the liquor business in India.

For selling alcohol online, you have to acquire a License from the Excise Department of the State Government. Liquor License and Rules & Regulations are held by each state government -- from the selling to timing, to the age restrictions, there are a lot of factors which are regulated by each state government in India.

The present content of law does not legally permit home delivery of alcohol, liquor selling online or at microbreweries, etc. Alcohol must be bought from a licensed shop only.

liquor license cost

What are the different types of Liquor Licenses?

Alcohol selling premises require these two major types of liquor license:

  • You will need an on-license if the liquor you sell is intended to be consumed on the premises. Examples of businesses that would require on-license include bars, restaurants, and taverns.

  • You will need an off-license if the liquor you sell is intended to be consumed outside the premises. Examples of businesses that would require an off-license include liquor stores, grocery stores, and drug stores.

Figure out the specific kind of license you need-

Each state government issues different types of licenses to an individual/company. Find the licenses and the purposes mentioned below:

  • L- I Licence - The government grants this license to a company, society, partnership firm or proprietorship firm running a licensed manufacturing unit/s. A leading newspaper of a local area, as well as official websites of the concerned state excise departments, issue a public notice to invite applications for this.

  • L-3 Licence - The Central or State government issues tenders for granting this license to working distilleries or bottling plants.

  • L-6 Licence - The government grants this license for retail vend of Indian liquor/beer only to selected undertakings of the state govt.

  • L- 9 Licence (Earlier L-52D) - The government grants this license for the retail sale of liquor of foreign brands. Only L-1 license holders can avail this and get a foreign liquor license.

  • L-10 Licence - The government grants this license for the retail sale of liquor of various Indian and foreign brands.

  • P-13 Licence - The government grants this license on a temporary basis to licensed hotels, restaurants and clubs for providing them permission to serve foreign liquor inside or outside their licensed premises for hosting a function on a specific day only.

  • P-10 Licence - The government grants this license to serve liquor in any function at specific premises anywhere in the city, excluding public parks.

  • Others - The government grants the L-11, L-12, L-15, L-16, L-17, L-18, L-19, L-20, L-21, L-28, L-29, L-30 licenses for various other reasons other than the ones listed above.

apply for a liquor license

How can I get a Liquor License?

To get a liquor license, one must contact the excise department of their state. They are the ones with the authority to grant a liquor license. Please note that the government of the states Bihar, Gujarat, Manipur, Nagaland and the union territory of Lakshadweep prohibits the consumption and sale of alcohol, but invite tenders or applications from time to time.

For example, the Rajasthan Excise department had issued a notice in February 2016 to provide permits. Likewise, other state governments also issue a notice in leading newspapers as well as on their official websites for the same.

When a licensee sells his valid license due to reasons like shifting to other countries, etc., he can get a new liquor license by purchasing a valid one after making proper investigations. This might cost him Rs. 1 crore approximately.

 

Liquor License Laws and Rules

Each state has its own rules and requirements regarding the grant of liquor licenses, which is why one has to contact their local authority to find out about the alcohol laws and the sale of licenses in their specific state.

  • Each state has a separate Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agency that regulates all these sales and distribution of liquor, so you can even contact your local ABC office for more information.

  • Some states or even towns have separate license quotas that limit the number of places that can sell liquor within the state or town, at any given time. Which is why it is important to know if there are any available licenses for one's respective state or town. If there aren't, one might have difficulty in procuring a license.

In the Constitution of India, under Article 47 it has been clearly mentioned that “The State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health”. In India, there are a total of 5 states where there is a strict ban on sale, purchase, and consumption of alcohol.

Like in Delhi, there is a Delhi Liquor Licence Rules, 1976 which states about the types of licenses required to serve liquor in Delhi and also describes the do’s and don’ts to provide safe and quality liquor to the consumers in Delhi.

For more queries regarding acquiring a liquor license in India, ask for expert legal advice.

obtaining a liquor license

What are the requirements for a Liquor License?

These are the below-mentioned documents required for a liquor license:

  • Identity proof and Address Proof of applicant

  • Premises Address Proof

  • NOC from the fire department

  • NOC from the municipal corporation

  • Application with business details

  • List of Directors for companies

  • MOA and AOA if the applicant is a company

  • Copy of Latest IT return

  • Photograph of an authorised person

  • The affidavit required for liquor shop license: Affidavit of the authorised person stating that he has no criminal record or any offense punishable under the respective state act and also he is not a defaulter in paying any dues to the department. You can ask for the format of the affidavit required for liquor shop license during registration.

requirements for a liquor license

How long does a Liquor License last?

You’re required to renew your liquor license annually, which might involve paying the liquor license price for renewal. This is why knowing the cost and timeline upfront is important to make you feel more confident about your business.

Any person desiring to renew a license shall, thirty days before the date of expiry of the license, apply for renewal and pay the liquor license fee for renewal thereof. Every application shall be accompanied by a challan, evidence of payment of application fee of Rs.25/- and liquor license renewal fee as fixed by the State Govt. from time to time.

How much does a Liquor License cost in India?

  • The temporary liquor license cost or the cost of one-day liquor license, for liquor parties organised for marriage or other events in smaller towns, such as Navi Mumbai, where the population is below 20 lakh, the mandatory cost of a liquor license will be Rs10000 for above 100 members and Rs7,000 for below 100 members.

  • As per excise department rules, the FL-4 licence is needed to get liquor for a party in a private flat or at a resort. The average liquor license cost for this will be Rs13,000 across cities in your state. Consumers must have this licence to organise even house parties. Those without permission to host a party can book a house party organizer for legal possession of liquor.

  • Serving liquor license cost for permit rooms is Rs. 544,000 and that for beer shops or for restaurants is Rs.150000.

  • The Delhi High Court has stated that no service tax on liquor license fees are to be levied, neither on the application fee or the cost of country liquor license sold in retail, citing the GST council’s decision, thus disposing of a writ petition that was filed by some of the leading liquor companies requesting for the imposition of GST on liquor license fee.

liquor license fee

How can we help you?

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Having a network of over 10,000 lawyers in over 500+ districts in India, MyAdvo ensures that you get the best lawyer, who is well-versed with the property related matters in India so as to relieve your stress and pressures.

Through MyAdvo, you can consult the lawyer and take legal advice anywhere in India through online or offline over the phone. You need to just send a query via mail on support@myadvo.in or simply call us at +91-9811782573 and we will resolve any query related to legal problems.