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Opening a Restaurant or Liquor Store: What You Need to Know About Liquor Licenses

posted on March 15, 2016 by Willingham & Cote

by Alcohol Beverage, Scott Breen

Locating the Necessary Michigan Liquor License 

Many people have dreams of opening their own restaurant, brewpub, bar, grocery store, or convenience store.  However, if you wish to sell alcoholic beverages as part of that business, you will need a liquor license.  The type of liquor license that you will need is based on the type of business.  For example, a restaurant (or brewpub) needs to obtain a “Class C” license in order to sell beer, wine, and spirits.  A grocery or convenience store needs to obtain an “SDD” license in order to sell spirits and an “SDM” license to sell beer and wine.

Many of these liquor licenses are subject to a “quota” system that limits the number of licenses that may be issued in a particular city or township.  Although the city or township may have already reached the quota for issuing a particular license, you may be able to purchase necessary licenses from other licensees.  The nice thing about purchasing an existing license is that the Michigan Liquor Control Code allows you to transfer licenses across city/township lines (with certain restrictions).  This is even true if your city or township has reached its quota (there can be more licenses than the quota system would normally allow).  

If you are looking for a liquor license that is subject to a quota and you need assistance in either finding the necessary license or helping to document the transaction, the attorneys at Willingham & Coté, P.C. may be able to assist you.

Scott A. Breen serves as treasureron the firm's board of directors.  He is also the chair of the Business and Corporate and Real Estate practice groups.  He is also a member of the Hospitality and Alcohol Law practice group.  Mr. Breen represents clients in the formation of business entities, liquor licensing, mergers acquisitions, succession planning, and all types of  business transactions. 


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