How to Get a Liquor License in Georgia
August 2, 2022
Looking to sell alcohol at your restaurant? Read on for a primer on the Peach State’s process.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be legal advice. Contact your attorney or state authority if you have questions about compliance. Last Updated: July 2022
You’ve found the perfect location for your new concept, picked an awesome restaurant name and started finetuning your menu. Now, it’s time to turn your attention to snagging a liquor license.
The Alcohol & Tobacco Division within the Georgia Department of Revenue manages alcohol and tobacco licenses for the state. See below for all of the details about what type of license you’ll need, how to apply, expected costs and more.
Types of Liquor Licenses
There are six main types of liquor licenses in Atlanta: Retailers, Special Events, Brewpub, Manufacturers/Broker, Wholesalers/Distributors and Alcohol Renewals.
Restaurants are classified under the Retailers category and need a Consumption on Premises (COP) license. This allows for distilled spirits, malted beverages and wine to be sold to patrons and consumed on premises only.
A full list of available alcohol licensing can be found here.
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How to Apply for a Liquor License in Georgia
In August 2020, the Department of Revenue implemented a centralized application process that requires only one application, which is sent to both local licensing authorities and the state. This change only applies to retail alcohol licensing, which is what restaurants fall under.
1. Prepare your required documents
To apply, you’ll use the Georgia Tax Center. But first, gather your materials to make the process easier and faster. Here are the four documents you’ll need to fill out:
ATT-17 Georgia Alcohol & Tobacco Personnel Statement (needs notarization)
Power of Attorney (if relevant)
Complete these individual PDFs and scan them into your computer. You’ll upload them to the Georgia Tax Center in the next step.
2. Create an account on the Georgia Tax Center
The Georgia Tax Center (GTC) is your go-to dashboard for completing an application on both the local and state level. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to register in GTC. After you fill out the information and upload your required documents, you’ll receive a confirmation number and code. Print the confirmation page for your records.
3. Be ready for other materials to be requested
After you complete your application, you may receive a follow up asking for you to submit a Background Investigation, Tax Clearance or Fingerprint Process. These asks will come through the Georgia Tax Center.
How Much Does a Liquor License Cost in Georgia?
The fee for a Consumption on Premises license is $200. A complete list of Georgia’s fees is available here. Your local alcohol licensing fee will vary by county, but you can find this information within the Georgia Tax Center.
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What to Do to Keep Your Liquor License
Securing your liquor license is the first step. Safeguarding it is the second — and it’s just as important. A lot of time, energy and resources have gone into applying for the privilege to serve alcohol. Here are four steps you can take to keep your new investment safe.
1. Print your liquor license
Since September 2021, licensees are responsible for printing their own liquor licenses. The Department of Revenue no longer prints and mails them. Follow these instructions to print through the Georgia Tax Center. Make sure to use only white stock paper, and to post the printed document in a visible location at your establishment.
2. Understand how to sell mixed drinks to-go
Senate Bill 236, passed in 2021, enabled restaurants with a Consumption on Premises license to sell mixed drinks to-go in approved containers. Follow the requirements for sealed, tamper-evident bottles and pouches. Consumers must also purchase food with any mixed drinks taken away for off-premises consumption. Read through the FAQs here.
3. Train staff on responsible alcohol service
The state of Georgia doesn’t require certifications or training programs for restaurants to maintain their liquor licenses. However, it’s still a good idea to prepare and educate your team members through tools like ServSafe Alcohol. Local jurisdictions may have their own requirements for training, so check with your county or city officials to understand the guidelines for your area.
4. Renew your license yearly
Every year, your liquor license must be renewed. You have until November 1 to complete the renewal application for the following year through the Georgia Tax Center — here’s how. The renewal process is typically immediate. However, adding or changing responsible parties, selecting a different license type, committing errors on your citizenship affidavit or making a renewal payment with filing the correct paperwork all may cause a delay.
Additional Resources for Georgia Restaurants
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