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Alcoholic Beverage Licensing

State and Local Licensing 

Several agencies license or tax the manufacture, sale, warehousing, distribution and/or import of alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine. To apply for a license, applicants must complete a background check, a financial check, and be fingerprinted. For general information and the order in which permits need to be secured, contact your local city or county clerk’s office. To apply for an alcoholic beverage permit, a business must first secure a retail beer permit.

To sell alcoholic beverages by the drink, contact the following agencies:

To sell alcoholic beverages by the bottle (liquor, grocery, convenience store), import, transport, distribute, sell or deliver alcohol in Idaho, contact the Idaho State Liquor Division in addition to the above agencies.

Idaho alcohol lawsIdaho Statute Title 23

Application requirements

The following documents are needed to apply for a license:

  • Completed application (obtained from Idaho State Police Alcohol Beverage Control),
  • A copy of applicant’s retail beer license
  • Fingerprint cards and fees to cover the cost of background checks for everyone listed on the application
  • A copy of the lease agreement or proof of ownership of the property where the alcohol will be served, including a detailed description of the premises, proof of zoning approval and a copy of the city or county building occupancy permit
  • A copy of the most recent health department facility inspection
  • If food is sold, a copy of the menu with individually priced items
  • Names and addresses of all persons having a financial interest in the business, including mortgage holders, lease holders and silent partners
  • a copy of the business’s entity registration (corporation, LLC, etc.) filed with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office
  • Detailed financial statements for the business and each person listed on the application

Federal Licensing

Breweries, wineries, manufacturers, importers, exporters, distributors, wholesalers, and those who warehouse alcoholic beverages must secure a federal license from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Wine Issues

  • Wine Direct Shippers: Both a wine license and a direct shippers permit secured from the ID State Police Alcohol Beverage Control Division are needed. An Idaho sales tax permit and a wine tax permit must be secured from the Idaho State Tax Commission. Individuals bringing wine into Idaho for personal use pay use tax.
  • Wine Catering Permit: Needed to serve and sell wine at an event.
  • Winery-sponsored events: Special events open to the public and not held at a licensed winery and at which wine will be sold, such as festivals, need a permit from Idaho State Police Alcohol Beverage Control. Private events and parties held at a licensed winery, such as wedding receptions, do not need a permit.

Beer Issues

  • Consumer-Direct Beer Shipments: The direct shipment of beer to a residence is illegal. It is also illegal for a distributor to pay for the exclusive right to distribute the products of small breweries.
  • Strong Beer: Beer containing more than 4% alcohol, called “strong” beer, is taxed as wine.


If the alcohol content of kombucha is 0.5% or more at any time during production or bottling, it is considered an alcoholic beverage and Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulations apply.

Change in Brewery or Winery Ownership or Control

When a brewery or winery changes ownership, registered entity type, or there is a change in physical or legal control of the business (new stockholders or LLC managers), the U. S. Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau should be contacted. Business activities may be suspended until the new owners are approved.

Charitable/non-profit events 

Organizations desiring to serve beer or wine at a charitable event lasting 3 days or less need to secure a temporary nonprofit event permit. The applicant must not have a current wine or beer permit and all proceeds must go to charity. Distilled spirits cannot be served. The same permit covers serving both beer and wine.

Home Brewing or Distilling

Alcohol Seller/Server Awareness Training 

Alcohol Beverage Control offers free training for those who sell or serve alcohol, including retail store staff, bartenders and servers. See their website for class locations and dates. Some training is available online.

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