Wholesale Alcohol License
What is Wholesaling Alcohol?
Wholesaling is the act of wholesaling or distributing (another common word for wholesalers is distributors), Wine or Distilled Spirits (aka hard liquor) to retailers. Retailers include Bars, Restaurants, Taverns, Liquor Stores, Grocery Stores, and Supermarkets.
The act of wholesaling alcohol is regulated because liquor is a controlled substance. Therefore, this business requires Federal, State, and even County, City, or Village licenses.
In order to distribute alcoholic beverages to other wholesalers or retailers, you need a Permit from the Federal Government and/or the State where you will do business.
To get your Permit you must file an Application under The Federal Alcohol Administration Act (also known as the FAA)
Each State has different license requirements and these are usually governed by that States’ individual ABC laws (also known as Alcoholic Beverage Control or Commission Laws).
In most cases you need BOTH Federal and State licenses to do business.
Basic Requirements for a Permit
There are some basic, and very important requirements to obtain a Wholesaler permit:
First, you must have a company such as a Corporation, Limited Liability Company, or Sole Proprietorship registered to business in the United States.
After having a company set up, you must have a physical location within the United States such as an office for books and records and/or a warehouse to store your product. In most cases you will NOT be able to store beer, wine, or liquor for re-sale in a residential space.
Location requirements are very specific depending on the State where you will do business, so it is important to know the requirements for your specific situation before investing money into a location.
Call one of the experts today for more details on the requirements to become a licensed importer.
Ways to Do Business
There are a few ways to do business as a Wholesaler.
First you may choose to go into a contract with an already licensed Wholesaler. In this situation, a United States licensed distribution company would handle a large part of business operations. This can be a great way to start business if you do not want to be very involved in the day to day operations. However, it is important to note that you would still require your own permits to follow Federal and State Laws, but also to keep control of your beer, wine, or liquor.
The second way to do business as a Wholesaler is to obtain your own distributor’s permit. In this situation, your company would conduct all distribution and in some cases transporting of the beer, wine or liquor. Separate transportation permits may be required depending on your specific situation.
A third way to do business as a Wholesaler is to combine your Wholesaler permit with an Importer Permit. See our “Importer License” web-page for more details on this license type.
This option will provide you a lot of flexibility because it will allow your company to import alcohol into the United States, and also allow you to sell the alcohol to other wholesalers and to re-sellers such as bars, restaurants, liquor stores, supermarkets, and others.
A fourth way to do business as a Wholesaler is to combine your Wholesaler permit with a Manufacturing licenses such as a Brewery, Winery, Distillery or Cidery. See our “Manufacturing License” web-page for more details on this license type.
This option will provide you a lot of flexibility because it will allow your company to actually produce your own beer, wine, liquor, or cider and sell it to other wholesalers or to re-sellers such as bars, restaurants, liquor stores, supermarkets, and others.
To see which method of operation is best for you and your business, call one of our license specialists today. Choosing the right license from the start, can set you up for success in your alcoholic beverage business.