of alcoholic beverages in the United States is conducted through
a three-tiered system: manufacturing (supplier/importer), wholesaling
and retailing. At the first two levels, manufacturing and wholesaling,
licenses are required on a federal and state bases. With respect
to the retail tier, although there are no federal permits required,
there is a need for state and, in many jurisdictions, licenses.
Manufacturing (plant facility): Both federal and state licenses
will be required as well as the posting of surety bonds in
order to protect governmental tax revenues on the manufacture
of product and to safeguard against violations of law. The
federal agency also requires a special tax stamp for the registration
of the prospective manufacturer.
Supplier/Importer: Provided the importer and supplier are
US-based, federal permits and, in most instances, state licenses
will be required. In certain jurisdictions, an importer cannot
qualify as a wholesaler. In addition, in some jurisdictions,
one cannot be both a manufacturer and wholesaler. As noted
above, surety bonds will be required to protect both revenue
and against violations. Federal occupational tax stamp is required.
Wholesaler: At this tier, federal and state licensing is required,
as well as surety bonds. Many states require that product come
to rest at warehouse premises either owned or controlled by
the wholesaler prior to sale and delivery to local retailers.
Again, federal occupational tax stamp is required.
Retailer: State licensing is required, together with federal
occupational tax stamp. Retail licensing may be restricted
based on population census or based on ownership limitations.
With respect to all of the above licenses, a business premises
is required. Agencies will conduct personal history review,
often including fingerprinting, as well as financial background
investigation. Generally, applicants must be aware of ownership
restrictions among the tiers and, on a personal level, if the
agency investigation reveals a criminal history.
Buchman Law Firm, LLP is experienced in reviewing
applicant eligibility and obtaining licenses at all tiers nationwide.
We represent small, start-up operations to publicly traded
companies well established in the industry.