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Local Government: Alcoholic Beverage Licensing

Please note that Helmer Legal is here to Help Restaurant and Bar Owners with Extension of Premises Permits and Other COVID-19 Regulations

Any liquor store, restaurant, or bar selling alcoholic beverages must:

  • Be licensed by the municipality in which it is located; and
  • Obtain approvals for any transfer of the license, expansion of the licensed premises or annual renewal of the license.

In addition, any establishment serving alcohol is subject to disciplinary hearings before the municipality or the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control for alleged violations of the many regulations applicable to alcoholic beverage licensees.

The alcoholic beverage licensing department at HCK has represented municipalities as well as licensees regarding approvals for the transfer or expansion of a license and in defending charges brought against them. In addition, Skip Reale, an associate counsel for the New Jersey League of Municipalities focusing on alcoholic beverage licensing, has lectured on redevelopment issues related to restaurants with licenses.

Our HCK team has also represented many license holders on licensing and disciplinary matters. An advantage to having an attorney experienced with both sides of an issue is their enhanced ability to understand the concern from different vantage points and perhaps see additional resolutions.

If you’ve decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and plan to open a bar or restaurant in New Jersey that will serve alcoholic beverages, congratulations!  Now what? 

The first thing to understand about New Jersey’s regulation of the alcoholic beverage industry is that the regulations adopted by the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control are based upon a social philosophy that dates from the 1890s and a regulatory process adopted in 1933, with the end of Prohibition.  In other words, you are about to operate a business in the 21st century where the regulatory philosophy, laws and regulations bear no relation to society as it exists today.

You need knowledgeable and experienced counsel to help you navigate the alcoholic beverage industry: knowledge and experience that, surprisingly, is not limited to alcoholic beverage licensing law.  You will find you need advice, counsel, and expertise in other areas including business formation (are you going to operate as a corporation or a limited liability company), real estate law (are you buying or leasing the property), and zoning and planning law (does the local zoning laws permit a restaurant at your proposed location).  You need expert counsel in the preparing of the Contract to Purchase the License.  With respect to the required application process, you will need experience, counsel to assist you throughout, including preparation of the application, the submission of the required supporting personal background and financial materials, preparing for and participating in the interview with the local police department, and appearing before the local governing body as it considers your request to transfer the License.

The attorneys practicing alcoholic beverage law at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman offer our clients the knowledge and experience to meet all of the challenges you will face in getting your dream off the ground.  From the formation of your business, the negotiation of the Contract of Sale, the resolution of any zoning and planning issues, through the application process to the approval of the transfer of the License, the lawyers of Helmer, Conley & Kasselman will be with you.

So, whether you are in need of a Plenary Retail Distribution License, Plenary Retail Consumption License, a Hotel/Motel License, a Concessionaire Permit or plan to open a Craft Brewery or Craft Distillery, we will work beside you to help you achieve your dream.

Call Us - Problem Solved

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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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