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How to get a liquor license in bc

How to get a liquor license in bc


Obtaining a liquor license in British Columbia is a crucial step for individuals and businesses looking to serve alcohol. Whether you’re opening a restaurant, bar, or hosting an event, a liquor license is essential to legally sell and serve alcoholic beverages. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of acquiring a liquor license, ensuring you have the necessary information to make informed decisions.

Step 1: Determine the Type of Liquor License You Need

There are various types of liquor licenses available, depending on the nature of your establishment or event. These include licenses for restaurants, bars, special events, private clubs, and more. Identify the category that best suits your requirements.

Step 2: Research Liquor License Requirements

Different types of liquor licenses have specific eligibility criteria and requirements. Research and understand the prerequisites for the license you intend to apply for. This may include factors such as location, seating capacity, food service, and more.

Step 3: Complete the Necessary Training

In some cases, individuals involved in serving alcohol are required to complete Serving It Right, a responsible beverage service program. This training ensures that alcohol is served responsibly and patrons’ safety is prioritized.

Step 4: Prepare the Required Documents

Gather all necessary documents, which may include identification, business licenses, floor plans, lease agreements, and more. Ensuring you have all the required paperwork ready will streamline the application process.

Step 5: Submit Your Application

Apply for your liquor license through the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) of British Columbia. Be thorough and accurate while completing the application form and provide all required documents. You may need to pay an application fee, which varies based on the license type.

Step 6: Await the Review Process

The LCRB will review your application, conduct background checks, and assess your compliance with regulations. This process may take several weeks to months, depending on the complexity of the application.

Step 7: Address Any Concerns or Requests for Additional Information

During the review process, the LCRB may request additional information or clarifications. Promptly respond to any inquiries to expedite the application review.

Step 8: Receive Your Liquor License

Once your application is approved, you will receive your liquor license. Ensure you understand the terms and conditions outlined in the license and comply with all regulations.

Step 9: Renew Your Liquor License

Liquor licenses are typically issued for a specific period, after which you’ll need to renew your license. Stay informed about renewal deadlines and requirements to ensure uninterrupted operations.

Resources Links

Explore the following resources to assist you in obtaining a liquor license in British Columbia:

  1. Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch – Liquor Licensing
  2. BC Restaurant and Food Services Association – Licensing Information


Can I apply for a liquor license as an individual?

Yes, individuals can apply for certain types of liquor licenses, such as a special event license. However, for establishments like restaurants or bars, a business entity is typically required.

What is Serving It Right?

Serving It Right is a responsible beverage service program aimed at promoting safe and responsible alcohol service. Completing this training is often mandatory for individuals involved in serving alcohol.

How long does the liquor license application process take?

The timeline varies based on factors such as the type of license, location, and completeness of the application. It can range from a few weeks to several months.

Can I transfer a liquor license to a new location?

Yes, it is possible to transfer a liquor license to a new location. However, this process requires approval and adherence to specific guidelines.


Securing a liquor license in British Columbia involves a series of steps, from understanding the license type to completing the application and adhering to regulations. By following this comprehensive guide and utilizing the provided resources, you’ll be well-prepared to successfully obtain a liquor license and contribute to a safe and enjoyable dining and entertainment experience.

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