Transfer of License Act Summary
YOU MUST NOTIFY DABC IMMEDIATELY for any changes in ownership.
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.
WHO MAY TRANSFER A LICENSE:
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
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.
PURCHASE PRICE AND ESCROW:
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. The amount being paid for the license must be put into an escrow account. There will always be a dollar amount in this case and the amounts paid for other assets must not be inflated to avoid escrow. (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 also be put into escrow.
ONCE THE TRANSFER IS APPROVED BY THE COMMISSION:
Operations of the retail license must begin at the location approved by the commission before there can be a transfer of the license to a different location.
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,
- Have obtained a building permit for the improvements, and
- Are working expeditiously to complete the improvements to the licensed premises.
NOTE: If the business does not begin operations within the time period required, the retail license will automatically be forfeited.
- Sale/Transfer of a Retail License (and the entity is changing)
- Existing Business (keeping the same entity) 51% or More Ownership Changes
- Retail - Change of Location
- Off-Premise Beer - Change of Location
- Off-Premise Beer - Transfer
- Public Service - Request for Change of Location
For the Escrow Provider: Duties of the Escrow Holder
The following documents are incorporated in the application form, but are also available for individual download: