Looking for an Ohio Liquor License for Sale?

At Sawan & Sawan, our team of liquor license lawyers are in frequent contact with individuals looking to transfer Ohio liquor licenses and the associated assets. Buyers looking to start a new bar or restaurant – or open a new location – can have a difficult time identifying opportunities for such transfers. At Sawan & Sawan we can help. 

We Help Clients Obtain and Transfer Liquor License Permits in Ohio

At Sawan & Sawan, we have over 30 combined years of legal experience getting results where they matter most.

How to Get a Liquor License in Ohio.

Are you looking for an Ohio Liquor License for Sale? Here is some information you need to know. Many times businesses which are for sale hold liquor permit privileges which can be transferred to another business. Businesses for sale that include liquor permit privileges are often advertised in local newspapers and industry trade publications. 

If you’re gearing up to open a restaurant or bar, it’s likely you’re interested in snagging a liquor license. And for good reason! According to Small Business Chronicle, liquor sales tend to have some of the largest profit margins of anything on a menu, averaging between 75%-80%.

But remember, a permit alone cannot be purchased. The transaction must include other assets such as stock and inventory, tables and chairs, or other equipment.

Our Team

Toledo Attorney Dennis P. Sawan

Dennis P. Sawan

Senior Partner
Toledo Attorney Dennis E. Sawan

Dennis E. Sawan

Managing Partner
Toledo Attorney Chris A. Sawan

Christopher A. Sawan

Partner

Types of Liquor License Transfers in Ohio

This transfer occurs at the same physical location or locale. Remember, you cannot generally transfer your license to a store/business outside of your liquor license geographic location. That’s because liquor licenses are obtained and maintained within geographical boundaries generally determined by population. If you are considering this type of transfer, call our family of Ohio Liquor License Attorneys today at 419-900-0955. 

If you business is looking to move locations – and bring the liquor license with it – you may need to apply for a transfer of the location of an existing business. If you are considering this type of transfer, call our family of Ohio Liquor License Attorneys today at 419-900-0955. 

Under certain circumstances, a liquor license in Ohio can be moved from one location to another – so long as various regulations and facts apply. If you are considering this type of transfer, call our family of Ohio Liquor License Attorneys today at 419-900-0955. 

Any permit holder whose permit premises are destroyed or made unusable for any cause, or whose tenancy is terminated for any cause, shall deliver his permit to the Department of Commerce – Division of Liquor Control for safekeeping until such time as the original permit premises are made available for occupancy or new premises are secured by the permit holder or until new premises are secured by the permit holder outside the precinct affected by a local option election. If you are considering this type of transfer, call our family of Ohio Liquor License Attorneys today at 419-900-0955. 

In Ohio, an individual – as opposed to a company – holds the liquor permit. As a result, the change in ownership structure of an LLC or Corporation can trigger a legal requirement to inform the State of Ohio. If you are considering this type of transfer, call our family of Ohio Liquor License Attorneys today at 419-900-0955. 

Who Can Get a Liquor License in Ohio?

The simple answer is – not everyone. If you’re wondering how to go about obtaining a liquor license in Ohio, the best place to start is with the basics. In Ohio, alcohol licenses are limited bases on the population in the area in which you own or operate a business that serves Alcohol. Many times, additional new licenses are not available. Since licenses must be renewed on an annual basis, there is always a chance to capitalize on new license opportunities if you know what to watch for.

Before applying for a license, its critical to prove that you – and any potential partners – are American citizens. Many crimes – but not all – can preclude you from obtaining a liquor license in Ohio. It’s important to confer with a lawyer about your particular criminal charges to determine the impact in an application. After applying for the transfer, your building will need to undergo an inspection to certify that the facilities are up to code.

Types of Liquor Licenses in Ohio

Ohio law provides for several licenses – or permits as they are referred to in Ohio – each with different rules and permissions. The first step in setting up your bar or restaurant is to ensure that the County you are considering is one that permits the sale of alcohol – in other words it is not a dry county. The next step is to determine what type of license is best for you. A brief summary of the main classes of D permits is as follows:

Permits to Manufacture Alcoholic Beverages in Ohio

Permit ClassPermit FeeDescription
A1$3,906ORC 4303.02 Manufacturer of Beer – producing more than 31 million gallons per year, wherever produced, and sell beer products to wholesale permit holders.
A1A$3,906ORC 4303.021 Beer, and any intoxicating liquor by the glass or container on A-1 or A-2 permit premises only until 2:30am.
A1c$1,000ORC 4303.022 Manufacturer of Beer – producing up to 31 million gallons per year wherever produced, for sale on premises at retail for on premises consumption, and sell beer products to retail and wholesale permit holders.
A2$76ORC 4303.03 Manufacturer of wine.
A-2f$76ORC 4303.031 Ohio farm winery that grows and manufactures wine, from grapes, fruits, or other agricultural products on land it owns and uses only for agriculture.
A3$2 to $3,906ORC 4303.04 Manufacture, import and sell alcohol and spirituous liquor
A3A$2 to $400ORC 4303.041 Manufacturer of less than 100,000 gallons of spirituous liquor and sale to a personal consumer.
A4$3,906ORC 4303.05 Manufacture and sell certain prepared and bottled drinks, import for blended purposes
A5$1,000 per plantORC 4303.051 Manufacturer of ice cream containing not less than one-half of one percent alcohol by volume and not more than six percent of alcohol by volume. This holder may sell ice cream for consumption on the premises where manufactured or in sealed containers for consumption off premises. This law will become effective September 29, 2017.
B2A$25ORC 4303.07 Sale of wine to retail permit holder.
S$25ORC 4303.232 Sale of wine to personal consumer via mail order.
W$1,563ORC 4303.231 To operate a warehouse for the storage of beer or intoxicating liquor within the state and to sell such products from the warehouse to a B permit holder with Consent to Import on file or to other customers outside this state.

Permits to Distribute Alcoholic Beverages in Ohio

Permit ClassPermit FeeDescription
B1$3,125ORC 4303.06 Distributor of beer, ale, stout, other malt liquor.
B2$500ORC 4303.07 Distributor of bottled wine.
B3$124ORC 4303.08 Distributor of sacramental wine.
B4$500ORC 4303.09 Distributor of mixed beverages.
B5$1,563ORC 4303.10 Distributor and importer and bottler of wine.

Permits to Sell Alcoholic Beverages at a Retail Store in Ohio Carryout

Permit ClassPermit FeeDescription
C1$252ORC 4303.11 Beer only in original sealed container for carry out only.
C2$376ORC 4303.12 Wine and mixed beverages in sealed containers for carry out.
C2X$252ORC 4303.121 Beer in original sealed containers for carry out.
D8$500ORC 4303.184 Sale of tasting samples of beer, wine, and mixed beverages, but not spirituous liquor, at retail, for consumption on premises.

Permits to Sell Alcoholic Beverages at a Restaurant/Night Club in Ohio

Permit ClassPermit FeeDescription
D1$376ORC 4303.13 Beer only for on premises consumption or in original sealed containers for carry out only until 1:00am.
D2$564ORC 4303.14 Wine and mixed beverages for on premises consumption or in original sealed containers for carryout only until 1:00am.
D2X$376ORC 4303.141 (Grandfathered Permit) Beer only for on premises consumption or in original sealed containers for carryout only until 1:00am.
D3$750ORC 4303.15 Spirituous liquor for on premises consumption only until 1:00am.
D3X$300ORC 4303.151 (Grandfathered Permit) Wine only for on premises consumption until 1:00am.
D3A$938ORC 4303.16 Extend issued permit privileges until 2:30am.
D5$2,344ORC 4303.18 Spirituous liquor for on premises consumption only, beer, wine and mixed beverages for on premises, or off premises in original sealed containers, until 2:30am.
D5I$2,344ORC 4303.181 (Same as D5). Restaurant meeting certain criteria.
D7$469ORC 4303.183 (Same as D5). RESORT area only.

What Type of License is Right For Me?

  • D1 – The D1 permit allows restaurant or nightclub to only sell beer. This permit also regulates where your customers are allowed to consume the beer: either on the premises or they’re allowed to buy beer for the purpose of taking it home. To sell beer meant for carry out, you must ensure that it’s sealed in its original container, such as an unopened beer bottle. Currently, Ohio allows D1 permit holders to sell beer for carry out until 1 am.
  • D2 – This permit allows restaurants and nightclubs to sell wine and mixed beverages. Like the D1 permit, D2 limits the consumption on-site or for carry out. Also, like D1, the beverages must be sealed in their original containers.
  • D3 – D3 permit holders must own either a restaurant or a nightclub. This permit allows for the sale of “spirituous liquor” only for on-site consumption and only until 1 am. “Spirituous liquor” is a tricky term. It basically refers to any alcohol that’s inflammable and distilled. Under this definition, wine doesn’t qualify as “spirituous liquor.
  • D4 – This permit is designated for clubs only. It allows for the sale of beer or other hard liquors, anything capable of producing intoxicating effects. Only members of the club are allowed to purchase alcohol under this permit and they must consume it on-site until 1 am.
  • D6 – The D6 permit allows for the sale of liquor on Sundays. Permit holders can only sell liquor between the hours of 10 am—or 11 am, depending on the county—and midnight. To sell liquor in the state of Ohio on Sunday, you must possess a permit.

How Do I Transfer a Liquor License in Ohio?

There are 10 main steps in the Liquor License transfer process in Ohio. These steps are:

  1. Notification is sent to the legislative authority and police department of the political subdivision for which the application is filed. Legislative authorities include the city council of an incorporated city or the township trustees and county commissioners of an unincorporated area.
  2. Notification of any transfer of ownership is sent to the Ohio Department of Taxation. No transfers are approved until the Department of Taxation notifies the Division of Liquor Control that all taxes are current.
  3. Notification of any transfer which involves a change of location from the original permit premises is sent to the county Board of Elections which in turn, notifies the Division of the wet or dry status of the area. If the new location is dry, the applicant is notified and processing ceases. If the area is wet, processing continues.
  4. A physical inspection of the premises, or proposed premises, and the surrounding area is conducted by a Division compliance officer to determine if there are any institutions such as schools, churches, playgrounds, libraries or township parks within a 500 foot radius.
    Authorities in control of institutions within a 500 foot radius are notified that an application for a liquor permit has been filed.
    Local legislative authorities and institutions within a 500 foot radius are given the opportunity to file objections to the issuance of the permit and request a hearing.
  5. If an objection is filed and a hearing requested, the Division of Liquor Control notifies the permit applicant by certified mail as to the date, time and place of the hearing.
    Police records of all transfer applicants, including any five percent or more stockholder of a corporation, are checked.
  6. Upon completion of processing, the applicant is notified to return the old permit and identification card to the division. The new permit is then mailed to the new location or new owner.

Before a transfer can be approved, all outstanding administrative and legal issues must be resolved.

What If I Can No Longer Use My Permit?

In Ohio, when a liquor permit is no longer being used, State Law requires that it be quickly transferred into “safekeeping” with the State of Ohio. Ohio Revised Code section 4303.272 states that:

Any permit holder whose permit premises are destroyed or made unusable for any cause, or whose tenancy is terminated for any cause, shall deliver his permit to the Department of Commerce – Division of Liquor Control for safekeeping until such time as the original permit premises are made available for occupancy or new premises are secured by the permit holder or until new premises are secured by the permit holder outside the precinct affected by a local option election.

Under applicable law, once a permit is delivered to safekeeping, the State of Ohio will maintain the license in good standing for 180 days, unless good cause is shown for why it needs to be held longer. Generally, the State will maintain the license for one renewal period – but the permit holder is responsible for paying the applicable renewal fee. While the permit is in safekeeping, the permit holder cannot sell any alcohol or spiritous liquor.

Ohio Administrative Code 4301:1-1-16 further provides that:

If a permit holder is unable to operate or desires to discontinue the operation of the permit business for a period in excess of thirty days, the permit holder, a majority of the officers, partners, shareholders, or managing members shall notify the division, by affidavit, giving the reason for the request, specifying the last date of operation of the business, and indicating the period of time the permit holder wishes to remain closed. When the permit holder discontinues operation in excess of thirty days it must be for a bona fide reason. The permit holder must also be a bona fide operator. “Bona fide” operator means substantial service, as distinguished from incidental, sporadic, or infrequent service. No closing authority shall extend beyond one hundred eighty days from the last date of operation of the business, except for good cause. During the period of closing authority, the permit premises shall not be used for any other purpose. At the end of the closing authority period, the permit holder shall resume operation. If the permit holder is unable or unwilling to resume operation and no extension of closing authority has been granted, the division shall not renew the permit.

Failure to notify the State of Ohio as stated above can result in suspension, revocation or rejection of a permit – of a citation and fine for the permit holder. In short, if your bar or restaurant ceases to operate for any reason, you must act quickly to protect your assets by promptly placing your permit in safekeeping.

 

While in safekeeping, it is critical to ensure that any and all taxes owed on the permitted operation has been paid to prevent any issues with a future transfer. Back taxes are a common problem involving the transfer of a liquor license. Any taxes due on the permit, especially unpaid sales taxes, can result in the disallowance of a transfer.

Looking for an Ohio Liquor License for Sale? Call a Lawyer at Sawan & Sawan today.

If you’re thinking about applying for a liquor license in Ohio, it’s smart to call the family of lawyers at Sawan & Sawan today. We are here to help. Contact us today at 419-900-0955 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Sawan & Sawan is a liquor license law firm with liquor license attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio and Florida. The liquor license lawyers at Sawan & Sawan serve the following cities in Lucas County, Ohio: Maumee, Ohio; Oregon, Ohio; Sylvania, Ohio; Toledo, Ohio; Waterville, Ohio.

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 Sawan & Sawan is an Ohio based law firm with Ohio attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio. If you  would like to speak further about your specific legal matter, call Sawan & Sawan today at 1-866-INJURY-0 or 419-900-0955 to schedule a free consultation. The Ohio  attorneys at Sawan & Sawan serve the following cities in Franklin County, Ohio: Bexley, Ohio; Canal Winchester, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Dublin, Ohio; Gahanna, Ohio; Grandview Heights, Ohio; Grove City, Ohio; Groveport, Ohio; Hilliard, Ohio; New Albany, Ohio; Pickerington, Ohio; Reynoldsburg, Ohio; Upper Arlington, Ohio; Westerville, Ohio; Whitehall, Ohio; Worthington, Ohio. The Ohio lawyers at Sawan & Sawan serve the following cities in Lucas County, Ohio: Maumee, Ohio; Oregon, Ohio; Sylvania, Ohio; Toledo, Ohio; Waterville, Ohio.