How to Get a Liquor License in MI

Having a liquor license can significantly increase revenue to your business. However, Michigan’s liquor license laws are quite complex and obtaining one can be an arduous process.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) has many rules, regulations, and standard practices. Simple mistakes can prolong approval for an applicant from six months to as long as 12 to 18 months.

The following article details a broad overview of applying for a license. Keep in mind, this does not encompass all situations or license-types, so it is wise to consult with an experienced attorney before taking action.

Application Process for New License

The following is the general process for new license applicants:

  1. Prepare the application forms and all required information and send the application to MLCC with the inspection fee and license fee. Make sure that the quota license is available (if the quote applies). Obtain approval from local government—for a new Class C or Tavern license, the local resolution needs to approve your request “above all others.” If your fingerprints are not on file with the MLCC, you must be fingerprinted.
  2. The application is reviewed and fees are processed by the MLCC licensing staff. After review, if the application is considered complete, it is authorized for investigation.
  3. As soon as the application is authorized for investigation, it is sent to the proper district office. The district office then assigns an investigator, who will schedule an appointment with the applicant and investigate the proposed licensed premises. He or she will collect all the necessary documents form the applicant and ensure that the premises comply with all applicable rules and statutes. Once the investigation is complete, the investigator submits their report to MLCC licensing staff.
  4. Once licensing staff receives the investigation report, they will review the application file to ensure that the files contain all the necessary documents for a decision by the commission. The application request is then submitted to the commission for consideration at a regularly scheduled licensing meeting.
  5. The commission will review all information in the file and determine whether or not the request should be granted. The commission may approve or deny an application subject to specific actions being taken (e.g. a final inspection). Then the commission advises the licensing staff of its decision.
  6. Licensing staff then advises the applicant of the commission’s decision. If approved, licensing requests any additional necessary documents. If denied, licensing advises the applicant of the basis for denial and right to an appeal. If conditionally approved, licensing staff advises the applicant of additional requirements.
  7. The license is approved after receipt of the documents.

At White Law PLLC, we can help you navigate through the complexities of Michigan liquor license acquisitions and even transfers. Our Okemos lawyers obtained liquor licenses for our clients in various counties and for establishments of all sizes.

Contact us at (517) 316-1195 and request a free consultation today.

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