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Getting an Alcohol License in Georgia

March 13, 2014
A glass of wine with keys on a table

In order to sell, buy or distribute alcohol in Georgia, you must have a variety of licenses. For example, Georgia requires three types of licenses/permits to sell alcohol: a local alcohol license, a state alcohol license and a Federal Basic Permit. There are also many different types of licenses, such as Brewpub, Broker, Farm Winery, etc.

And it doesn’t stop there. There are also different types of alcohol, such as distilled spirits, fortified wine, hard cider, etc. Finding a right license for you can get a little confusing; luckily, there are lots of resources out there that can help simplify this matter.

Local Alcohol License

Be sure to check with your local authorities about the requirements needed for your local alcohol license because each jurisdiction could alter slightly from their neighbors.

If your business is in Atlanta, the Atlanta Police Department (APD) provides an informative fact sheet about the process of obtaining a license in the Atlanta area. They break it down into five steps, so make sure you don’t skip anything. They also list the fees needed. This number could vary depending on the type of establishment you own and the type of alcohol you’re selling.

State Alcohol License

Once you receive your local alcohol license, you can then start the process for your state license (Georgia law requires you to have a local license first before you can apply for your state license--Official Code of Georgia Annotated§3-3-2). The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) handles these licenses. Make sure you read through the department's Frequently Asked Questions before you start the application process.

As of January 29, you must provide additional information to obtain or renew your license with DOR. You must verify your citizenship by providing a:

DOR provides a detailed list of instructions for this step.  You can always check the status of your license or if you need to renew your license with the DOR’s Georgia Tax Center.

Federal Basic Permit

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a branch of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, administers and renews federal alcohol permits online. You can learn more about the application on their website. Also, some good news: there is no fee for this permit!

About the Author

Bethany McDaniel is the Interactive Web Content Manager for GeorgiaGov. She graduated from Berry College in Rome, GA with degrees in Visual Communication and History.