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Illinois Liquor Licensing Attorneys

Chicago Area Lawyers for Local, State, and Federal Liquor License Issues

Making, distributing, or selling alcoholic beverages can be an exciting business opportunity, but the laws and regulations surrounding the liquor industry are very complex. A business will need to obtain the correct licenses, and the requirements and application process can vary wildly depending on the location of the business, the types of liquor being manufactured or sold, and a wide variety of other factors. During the license application process, it is crucial to work with an experienced attorney who understands the relevant laws, the potential pitfalls that can arise, and the best strategies for success. At Bahr Anderson Law Group, LLC, we work with liquor manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to address licensing issues, and we help businesses develop strategic plans that will allow them to accomplish their long-term goals. To schedule an appointment with our attorneys, contact our office at 630-462-1113.

Understanding Your Liquor Licensing Requirements

alcohol-related business

Any alcohol-related business operating in the state of Illinois will need to obtain a state license from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC). However, an applicable local license (for retailers) or federal permit (for manufacturers or distributors) will need to be obtained before applying for a state license.

License Applications for Alcohol-Related Businesses

In Illinois, there are three tiers of liquor licenses. A manufacturer's license allows a business to brew, distill, or otherwise make beverages such as beer, wine, or spirits. Manufacturers can typically only sell liquor to distributors, although there are some exceptions for businesses such as wineries, brew pubs, or certain Craft Distillers. A distributor's license allows a business to purchase or import liquor and sell it to retailers. A retailer's license allows businesses such as bars, taverns, restaurants, or liquor stores to sell or serve alcoholic beverages to consumers.

Local Liquor License Applications Throughout the State of Illinois

In Illinois, every city, town, or municipality in the state is allowed to set its own liquor laws. This means that the types of local liquor licenses and the number of licenses available will be different based on the location of a business. Since every municipality's laws are unique, the requirements a business must meet in order to apply for a license may be simple or complex. Due to these complexities, it is essential to work with an attorney who is experienced in addressing the unique issues involved in applying for local licenses throughout the state of Illinois.


Our lawyers have the knowledge and experience necessary to address issues related to local liquor licensing, and we are prepared to travel anywhere in the state to ensure the application process is completed successfully. In addition to helping retailers meet the requirements of municipal codes, zoning laws, and ordinances, we can provide representation before city councils, licensing boards, or other government bodies. If necessary, we will work directly with local officials and advocate for ordinances to be amended or moratoriums to be lifted, ensuring that your business will be able to operate successfully.

Meet Our Attorneys




Irene has a national reputation for handling these matters in Illinois. Whether you are buying an existing business or starting your own, licensing in the alcohol beverage industry can be a daunting task. I will be part of your team, leading you through the steps of local, state and federal licensing to a successful conclusion and helping you avoid the pitfalls that can stop you from having a successful business.




Rob brings the experience of a prosecutor to the Bahr Anderson Law Group and so is uniquely poised to defend violations and handle disciplinary hearings. He began his legal career in 2008 and returned as an Associate Attorney in May of 2013. His prior experience includes an internship for Appellate Court Justice Thomas E. Callum and an internship at the DuPage County State Attorney's Office.



What Licenses Do I Need to Sell Retail Alcohol in Illinois?

You first need to obtain a local license from your city, village, or unincorporated licensing authority. After completing the local license application process, you must obtain a state liquor license from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC).


What Licenses Will I Need to Manufacture Beer, Wine, or Spirits?

You will need a Federal Basic Permit or Federal Brewer's Notice. After receiving a federal permit, you can apply for a State of Illinois license. The type of product and method of manufacture will determine the category of license that will be required.


Can I Receive a Liquor License if I have a Criminal History?

Having a criminal history is not an automatic bar from getting a liquor license. The nature of the violation, when it occurred, the facts surrounding the matter, and the disposition of the case can determine whether you would qualify for a license.


What Training Is Required for Employees Who Sell or Serve Alcohol?

Illinois law requires all servers, sellers, or employees who verify that patrons are 21 or older to take Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training (BASSET). Copies of employees' BASSET cards must be kept on site at all times. Many cities and towns also have additional training and certification requirements.

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