If your business wants to sell beer, wine, or spirits, you will quickly learn that alcoholic beverage laws in Ohio are complex. And it can be even more challenging to deal with the Division of Liquor Control, the Liquor Control Commission, and the Attorney General. Trying to do it on your own without experienced legal counsel often results in failure or at least delays which can translate into lost profits. Here are the most common types of legal matters the attorneys at Hurley Law handle for our clients:
This is the most common issue. If you buy an existing business, or you start a new business in a location that already has a permit, you will generally need to transfer the permit from the prior business to your business. The biggest issue is to ensure the prior business has paid all of its taxes; otherwise, the Division of Liquor Control may refuse to transfer the permit until they are paid.
Liquor Permit Management Agreement
It can take months for the State to approve a permit transfer. You generally want to be able to continue alcohol sales during that waiting period. Otherwise, you risk losing a fortune in lost profits. A permit management agreement is a contract between you and the prior permit holder that allows you to temporarily use their permit while you are waiting for the State to formally transfer the permit to you.
New Liquor Permit
If you are starting a new bar or restaurant in a location that does not currently have a liquor permit, then you will need to apply for a new permit. The biggest issue is to ensure a permit is available in that area before you sign a lease or purchase a building.
Sales Tax Issues
When a liquor permit holder falls behind on sales taxes, the State generally will not allow you to renew the permit or transfer the permit to a new owner. The dollar amounts involved can be massive once the State tacks on penalties, interest, and collection costs. But there are strategies to work around this, including negotiating lump sum settlements at a discount, payment plans, and appeals.
Option Election for Sunday Sales
In Ohio, the laws surrounding the sale of alcohol on Sundays are very antiquated and very complicated. In most places, you are required to create an election issue to be placed on the ballot. There are very strict rules regarding the proper forms, obtaining signatures on petitions, and deadlines. One minor misstep can cause your election issue to be removed from the ballot, forcing you to wait 6-12 months until the next election.
We Have the Experience to Help!
Attorneys at Hurley Law have substantial experience representing bars, restaurants, breweries, and convenience stores in all types of liquor law issues. We have a proven track record of helping our clients get permits fast, so they can open for business sooner and make more money.