'Tis the Season For Alcoholic Beverage License Renewals

It's that time of the year again, when restaurants, retail liquor stores, breweries, and any other business with a liquor license, entertainment license, or common victualler license (food) is required to renew each license they hold. It is a relatively easy process, but errors with the application or worse failure to file can cause severe repercussions.  

Alcoholic beverage license renewal applications typically become available in early November. Some municipalities send the licensee the necessary paperwork while others require the licensee to obtain it own their own, so be sure to check with your local licensing authority as possible. Under M.G.L. Ch. 138 §16A (Massachusetts alcoholic beverage laws), a licensee is entitled to have their alcoholic beverage license automatically renewed for the next year upon a completed, signed and submitted application during the month of November.

Each application requires the signature from an authorized signatory of the licensee entity (the business entity that owns the license), attesting to the truthfulness of the information contained within the renewal application. Therefore, it is imperative that any changes from the previous year are approved via the appropriate channels and disclosed in the renewal application, such as a change in the license interest holders or manager of record, any change in the designated licensed premises where alcohol is served, among others. Failure to disclose these changes or other errors in the application can have serious consequences ,such as the rejection of the application and non-renewal of the license. This can result in the loss of the license requiring the business to refile a new application for a new license. If your business is located in a city or town that has reach its limit of available liquor licenses, there is no guarantee you will be able to reacquire it. You could lose your ability to serve or sell alcoholic beverages, a fatal blow to any previously licensed business. 

License renewal applications are fairly straightforward, but it is useful to have an experienced attorney complete or review the application to ensure everything is in order. With so much on the line, its worth your due diligence.