Top 5 Mistakes Restaurants Make with Their Liquor License

Top 5 Mistakes Restaurants Make with Their Liquor License

June 29, 2022

One of the best ways a restaurant generates revenue is by serving alcohol. Therefore, it is essential for you to keep your restaurant compliant with state and local liquor laws. Learn from the top 5 mistakes restaurants make with their liquor licenses to avoid these pitfalls for your business. 

1 - Storing Alcohol and Food Invoices Off Premises

It is critical for any type of business to keep good records and document everything. However, a mistake that some restaurants make is storing the business records (alcohol and food invoices and receipts) off-premises. The law requires you to keep a copy of all invoices on-site along with the alcohol purchased. If the inspector unexpectedly visits, he or she may demand to see those invoices unless you have notified the DABT (Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tabaco) ahead of time. Typically, they prefer all invoices for the purchase of alcohol to always remain on-site.

2 - Purchasing Alcohol from a Retailer

Another big mistake is when a restaurant runs out of an alcohol product and runs to the local liquor store to buy a case until they can replenish it with an order to their regular vendor. Buying from a retailer instead of a licensed distributor can get you in serious trouble. Always use your wholesaler for all alcohol orders.

3 - Posting Your Liquor License

In addition to ensuring all licenses are up to date, the law requires that a restaurant post its liquor license in a conspicuous location on the licensed premises. Customers should be able to find it and read it easily.

4 - Refilling Practices

Another practice that is frowned upon in the liquor industry is refilling half-empty bottles from other bottles of the same product. For example, if you pour the remaining liquid from a bottle of Gray Goose into another half-empty bottle to consolidate, this is not allowed and can jeopardize your liquor license.

5 - Failing to Check IDs

Avoiding this issue is easy. Restaurants that fail to check the identification of all patrons, even those that look over 21, can put their liquor license at risk. Be sure to read each ID carefully checking to make sure it states the person is over 21. Be sure to educate yourself on the signs of a fake ID, so you do not risk your restaurant’s liquor license from someone underage trying to get served. Additionally, consider utilizing electronic ID scanners, point of sale electronic age verification, or “born on” electronic signage that is visible to staff. Any of these tools can assist staff when they are in a rush.

With a few slight changes, you can protect your liquor license easily. If you have questions about other potential liquor license issues, contact Spiritus Law today.