Does my event need a liquor license?

(Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, this is not legal advice)

A tricky question.  One with several ‘ifs’ and ‘than’ statements attached.  Focusing on events in the New York City area combined with the services we offer, the answer is “it depends”.

(Audible groans from the audience).

License?  Technically, we don’t need a license.

The events we produce do not consider the retail sale of alcohol.  Most projects involve complimentary drinks, be it beer, wine, and/or liquor.   JLBC does not maintain, nor is required to be in possession of a liquor license.  Our specialty is cocktail logistics, not sales.

I still need a license…now what?

Maybe you require a liquor license?  All is not lost! One can easily be attained by way of one of our numerous licensed partners.

Typically a liquor license is necessary when a venue requires it.  As mentioned, JLBC do not involve the retail sale of alcohol and on most occasions we operate without one.  Venues are typically concerned with insurance, which we are happy/obliged to carry.

Next, you will need a special event liquor license.

It’s a government process.  Translation: don’t drag your feet

To obtain a special event liquor license (in New York) you are not actually applying for a new license, instead you piggyback on an existing license.  Our extensive network of nationwide industry contacts provide numerous options for mitigating this requirement.

This process requires a special application from the State Liquor Authority (SLA), a trip to Harlem to file, along with a small fee.

The application involves filing a floor plan with exits, bathrooms, bar location, in addition to the (required) food menu.   The SLA recommends at least 15 days to process special event licenses, but as a buffer we recommend doubling that.

Solutions: available!

With that in mind, most of our event productions do not require a liquor license, as no alcohol is sold.  Require a liquor license? There are solutions. We can help.

Every event comes staffed with a crew trained in responsible service.  At least one crew member is in possession of a food handlers’ certificate.

Wondering if your event will need a liquor license?   Let’s chat! Email, text or call 917-553-5409

About author

WHAT I DO: I help bars, craft spirits brands, hotels, and event managers to glorify their brands by providing high-end cocktail expertise, hospitality consulting, and winning operations management. Working in the space where craft meets commerce, I can put together creative, develop go-to-market strategies, promote your brand to bartenders, develop trade advocacy initiatives, and put together back end financials. I develop concept designs, effective marketing platforms, and turnaround strategies. HOW I DO IT: I am a craft cocktail personality and event planner with 10 years of experience bartending, training bartenders, writing menus, setting up cost-effective operations, communicating brand messages to trade, and leading the bartending community. WHO I WORK WITH: • Craft Spirit Marketing Directors and Brand Owners seeking fresh go-to-market strategies • Hospitality Executives and Owners for bars, restaurants, and hotels • Marketing and PR Agencies for Events and Targeted Marketing • Struggling bars seeking a turnaround specialist MY FAVORITE CALL: “Hi Jason, I’ve got this amazing spirit. I want bartenders to know what it is and how to use it.” WHY IT WORKS: I am uniquely positioned in the industry because of my work experience, industry connections, and leadership. I’ve got my ear to the ground, and as a nano-agency, I’m an agile specialist with expertise that bigger, more conservative agencies can’t match. WHY I’M DIFFERENT: As a bartender by trade, I’m a skilled organizer with great communication skills and attention to detail. I build delicious drinks, strong teams, and successful events and businesses. I can produce high-end cocktails en masse at a festival, make them for a photo shoot, train your staff to make them, or convert your struggling bar into a winning concept with a killer story and world-class drinks.
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