How to Get a Liquor License in Indiana

By Jennifer Eblin ; Updated September 15, 2017
The type of license you need depends on your type of business.

Indiana requires that anyone who sells alcohol onsite at a restaurant or store in the state must first obtain a liquor license. Licenses are regulated by the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission, and obtaining one requires a small fee. The license must also be renewed each year. To get a liquor license in Indiana, you should to determine the type of license you need and then speak in front of the local board in your area.

Research the type of liquor license you need by examining the type of business you operate. The state of Indiana has a variety of licenses available, ranging from liquor stores and breweries to bars and restaurants. When you apply, you’ll need to know what type of license you are looking for. Indiana has licenses available for those who run gambling establishments, hotels, restaurants, bars and those who cater events where alcohol is served.

Download and print off the necessary forms from the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission website. Fill out your forms and return them to the address listed on the website. You’ll need to answer questions about your current financial state, your history, the type of business you run as well as any experience you have.

Go to a local meeting of the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission. During this meeting, you’ll be asked questions about your application and your business. This is your chance to make a good impression and to clarify anything the commission may question about your application. The board meetings are once a month on the first Tuesday at the county courthouse and you’ll need to attend the meeting in the county in which you apply.

Allow an inspector from the State Excise Police to visit your establishment for a tour. This visual inspection will be used to make the decision about your license. The inspector will look at your business, your storage and your staff while on the premises. This representative wants to see how things work during a routine day and the only thing you can do is make sure your business is running as it would on any other day. Tell your employees about the inspection so they can be on their best behavior; organize your stock and be on hand to make sure things are running smoothly.

Wait for the decision, which may take days or weeks and sometimes even months after the final inspection. The only thing you can do is to wait until you hear back from the commission. To appeal a decision by the board, you must appeal in person within 15 days of the decision. (If you wait longer than that time frame, you’ll need to start the application process again.) You’ll need to visit your local ATC board and file your appeal. The case will then be turned over to a hearing judge, who will set a new date. At this meeting, you’ll need to show why you deserve the license and submit any changes you’ve made.

Tip

Indiana also allows individuals to purchase an existing license for their own use. There are different rules and regulations in place for this process.

About the Author

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.