License Transfer Applications

Transfer of License Act Summary

NON-RETAIL LICENSE TYPES - You must notify DABC immediately of any changes of ownership.  RETAIL LICENSES - You must notify DABC within 60 days of any changes in ownership and . . .

  • If the new owner is planning to operate the business and sell alcohol during the interim period before the new applicant's transfer is approved, an INTERIM MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT must be submitted and approved by DABC first.
  • Remember!  All closures of 10 days or more of your retail license require notification and approval from DABC or there may be no license to transfer.

Please see the right column on this page for more in-depth summaries of the four types of license transfers.  Applications and forms may be found below.


A DABC alcohol license is separate from other property held by a licensee.  The license may not be sold, transferred, assigned, exchanged, bartered, given, or attempted in any way to be disposed of to another person, whether for monetary gain or not, without going through the DABC transfer process. The DABC license may not be pledged as security for a loan or as security for the fulfillment of any agreement.  This means that all sales and transfers of DABC licenses must first be applied for, fees paid, a DABC investigation conducted, individuals qualified, and then the transfer must be approved by the DABC Commission.


Licenses or permits that may be transferred include:

  • All retail licenses
  • Off-premises beer retailer licenses
  • Brewery manufacturing licenses
  • Distillery manufacturing licenses
  • Winery manufacturing licenses
  • Industrial or manufacturing special use permits
  • Liquor Warehouse Licenses

An alcohol license may not be transferred across county lines, with the exception of a bar license.  The new buyer must be able to qualify for the license and may not be delinquent in the payment of state, employment, or federal taxes.


The DABC license may not be bundled together with other assets.  There must be a determining price allocated for the license, and all legal documents must indicate the purchase price paid for the license, even if it is zero.

  • For instance, if a business is being sold and the price being paid for the business would not change even if there was no DABC license being transferred, then the amount paid for the license might be zero.  However, the amount assigned must be indicated in the purchase documents and on the transfer application.
  • On the other hand, if a person would not be buying the business without the DABC license included, all assets, both tangible and intangible, must be itemized including the purchase price for the DABC license.  There will always be a dollar amount in this case and the amounts paid for other assets must not be inflated. (See Buying or Selling in the column on the right).
  • Sometimes only the DABC license is being transferred and no other assets of a business. Then the amount paid for the license must be in the purchase agreement.


Operations of the retail license must begin within 30 days, however, the department may grant one 30 day extension upon written request.  The commission may also grant one or more additional extensions not to exceed, in total, seven months from the day on which the commission approved the transfer.  The licensee must be able to demonstrate to the commission that they:

  • Cannot begin operations because the transferee is improving the licensed premises,
  • Obtained a building permit for the improvements if the local jurisdiction requires it, and
  • Are working expeditiously to complete the improvements to the licensed premises.

The newly transferred license must have opened for business before there can be any other transfers or changes of location made.

NOTE:  If the business does not begin operations within the time period required, the retail license will automatically be forfeited.

Transfer Applications:

  1.   Sale/Transfer of a License (and the entity is changing)
  2.   Existing Business (keeping the same entity) 51% or More Ownership Changes
  3.   Change of Location

Off-Premise Transfer Applications:

  1.   Off-Premise Beer Transfers - (includes ownership changes within the same entity)
  2.   Off-Premise Beer - Change of Location

Public Service:

  1.  Public Service Change of Location

License Fee Schedule

The following documents are incorporated in the application form, but are also available for individual download:

1.  BUYING or SELLING or otherwise transferring a DABC License for money or other consideration. 
2.  51% or MORE change of ownership within an existing business entity.
3.  TRANSFERRING a DABC License when NOTHING is paid for it such as for probate, wills, gifts to family members, bankruptcy, etc.
4.  MOVING YOUR OWN BUSINESS and DABC license to a new location.