Reviewed Ohio Liquor Control is the center for alcohol licensing-sidebar-McLean

Jackie McLean

Imagine all of the bars and restaurants that exist in a particular area. Each one of those businesses has a liquor license that allows them to legally sell alcohol. However, it is not that easy for a business to get a liquor license. In fact, these businesses had to endure a several-step process before they could obtain the significant document that would essentially, be the life of their business.

How to obtain a liquor license

Matt Mullins, the spokesperson for the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, said there are three steps to obtaining a liquor license.

First, he said there has to be a permit available for the liquor license because there is a quota on the number of permits the department can issue. The applicant also has to fill out an application.

Secondly, the department has to determine a wet or dry status for the business. Mullins said a wet status means the business is allowed to sell certain alcohol, whereas a dry status means the alcohol sales are not authorized for the business. The wet or dry status is determined by local option votes, and is matched against the original precinct for that particular location dated all the way back to 1933, when according to Mullins, was the first time the Ohio Liquor Control Act was enacted.

The last step includes criminal background checks, financial verification and making sure the applicant has tendency rights for his or her business. Mullins said this means that if there are any public institutions, including a church, school, library or public playground that are within 500 ft of the business, then those institutions have to be notified. If the institutions don’t agree with the location of the purposed business, then they have the ability to request an objective hearing before the division.

How to get a liquor license taken away

Mullins said there are a variety of ways that a business’ liquor license can be taken away.

First, a liquor license can be taken away if the legislative authority does not renew a business owner’s permit to sell alcohol. According to Mullins, the business owner’s permit must be renewed every year. If the legislative authority does decide not to issue a renewal, then the business owner has the right to request a hearing through the commission, which can then be appealed to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

A liquor license can also be taken away if there has been notification from the Ohio Department of Taxation that there has been some delinquency in that business’ tax sales or if the business has been withholding taxes. Mullins said by law, a tax non-renewal order is issued and the business’ permit is taken away until the issues are resolved.

Lastly, the number of alcohol citations a business receives can have a huge impact on what happens to its liquor license. Mullins said if a business gets too many citations from Liquor Enforcement agents, that business will then have to go before the Liquor Control Commission to determine the status of the liquor license. Any penalty can be given to the business in response to a number of citations, including a monetary fine, suspension of its privileges or reification of the permit itself.