Crystal Stump (owner and CEO of ABC Consulting and former Virginia ABC Special Agent from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority) answer the question, “What is a Banquet License?”
Pour yourself a drink; you’re going to need it!
This is a hot topic and I hope that you find this video very informative. ABC Enforcement division is tasked with reviewing and investigating industry licenses, retail licenses, and banquet licenses.
- Industry licenses are for licensees that manufacture alcohol: wineries, breweries, and distilleries.
- Retail licenses are for businesses that own a restaurant, grocery store, gift shop or convenience store.
- Banquet licenses are for special events: a one-day event like a party, festival, or fundraiser. I will get into all the types of banquet licenses available and how we can help you get one, and hopefully answer all your questions.
There are approximately 10 different types of banquet licenses and they range from the standard banquet license (we refer to it as a one-day license) to weekend-long festivals. A standard Banquet license is good for birthday parties, weddings, class reunions, and work parties. These events would be private, invitation only, no ticket sales, no exchange of funds, no cash bar and no alcohol sales. This license basically allows people to consume alcohol in public. A question we get a lot of is whether someone needs an alcohol license for a wedding or party. So here is the answer. If you are celebrating your husband’s birthday or are getting married in your home or in your back yard, you can provide alcohol to your guests. You do not need an alcohol license for that party. That is no different from having a friend over on a Friday night for a glass of wine. But….many wedding venues lease the venue out to people and the venue will tell the party renting the facility to obtain their own alcohol license. Some venues will not state this, directly, or even require it, but you are responsible for that license. Even though we are not attorneys, we will tell you if you are serving alcohol in a public facility, you need to have an alcohol license to do so. If you are a venue, check with your insurance company and your attorney. If you are renting a venue, check with the venue. Obviously, we cannot really guide you in your decision, but we can tell you from the eyes of the ABC Authority: if alcohol is being consumed in a private location (someone’s home or office building) that isn’t in a public park or public place, a license isn’t needed. Obviously, there is a case-by-case decision and if there is a question, call us. If the venue says that you are going to need to get a license, don’t question that. You are responsible for the license. And it isn’t expensive – but it could be if you are charged with violating Virginia’s laws!
Each banquet license will be applied for and approved by the ABC Enforcement Division and it takes time to get that license approved. It can take between 15-20 days to get approved, so when you have a date, go ahead and apply for your license and get the process started, because there will be supporting documents to search for and provide, during the process. You’ll need to give yourself adequate time to gather your documents and information for the ABC Authority, in order to obtain the license, in time.
Our firm, ABC Consulting, can help with your one-day licensing needs and can help you figure out what needs to gathered and what kinds of questions need to be answered so you are ready and prepared and not left, last minute, without a license, on the big day.
Our website has an online form that is very easy to fill out. When you get to our website application, you’ll notice that there are two types of one-day license applications (to include non-profit). The most simple license is the bottom license, the banquet license, but there are several more types of licenses. Remember I said that there were 10?
A Tasting License is also considered a Banquet license, but allows you to charge money and sell tickets for alcohol, but you are limited to how much you can serve to your guests (read my blog on “Tasting License,” to learn more about that).
We also have the application for a “Special-Event Banquet” license. Those types of license are issued to non-profit organizations. You need to be deemed nonprofit by the IRS, in order to qualify for this particular license. This non-profit, special event can be open to the public, you can sell tickets, you can sell admission tickets or charge a cover charge, and you can even sell alcohol from a cash bar, but you’ll have to provide supporting documentation during that investigation of your nonprofit status. If your nonprofit has not been filing their 990 (has to be filed every year with the IRS), this will hinder you getting approval. Make sure your nonprofit is in good standing with the state, the federal government, and the IRS, before you even start this process.
Back to our online form: we have our applications broken down into two different sections: individual and non-profit. Whether you choose individual or non-profit, we’ll review the answers in your application and based upon your answers, we’ll determine which is the best license for you! We collect the supporting documents from you. We’ll review your entire application packet to make sure it is complete and compliant and then we submit in on your behalf to the VA ABC Authority. This ensures that your license gets approved (quickly!) and isn’t held in limbo because of an accidental blank or missing document. If there are any problems or red flags, we can help you handle them before we submit the application – this ensures quick approval.
If your non-profit is trying to obtain a license for an event, festival or wine tasting, that continues past one day, we can help you with that kind of licensing, as well. If your non-profit hires an event planner or event director, additional paperwork will need to be filed, after the event – we can help you with that. Putting on a festival, in the state of Virginia, is a big deal and we want to make sure that your paperwork is done correctly and your application is filled out correctly. All that will make sure that you run a compliant event, which also ensures that you’ll get license in the future!
In addition to the banquet and the banquet special-event license, there are also manufacture’s licenses. These licenses are for wineries, breweries or distilleries are having a one-day or weekend-long event for a wine festival, let’s say. We can help you with this kind of license, help you figure out which to apply for, and what paperwork and documentation will be needed, so that you get your license in time, for your event.
Hopefully, this video answered all your questions about different types of one-day licenses and when you would need one and how we can help! Now you know that if you are getting married or having a festival, you have someone here for you to ask questions and tell you what is needed and next!
Our fees for a banquet license are $195. That includes the state application fee, the state license fee, online processing and our assistance, through the approval. With the Special Event non-profit license, we charge $225, and that includes state-application fee, the state license fee, online processing and our assistance, through the approval. This fee will also include the necessary paperwork that needs to be filed, after your event.
I hope this video helps you decide which license is the right one for you and how we can be useful! And as I discuss in the video Three Reasons that Applications Get Denied, people apply for the wrong license type, often, and hold up the process.
I hope you find these videos informative and interesting. We are continually updating our YouTube channel with new regulations, types of license types and the ins and outs of staying compliant. Please subscribe! If you DO find this video educational and informative, please give us a Thumbs Up! This channel is perfect for future and current ABC licensees. Each week, we publish a new video discussing different license types, compliance, regulations and trainings available for your business. Being compliant will save you money – which is the whole purpose of this consulting business – to keep you compliant, save you money and educate you about the ABC regulations in the state of Virginia. I do have other videos about how to apply for a license, what else ABC Consulting can do if you use us to put together your application (if you use us, it takes us about 45 days to get our clients licensed, with a 30-day objection period). Forty-five days gives us plenty of time to make sure that your business qualifies and that you are applying for the correct license. If you aren’t in the state of Virginia, we can help with Federal licenses. If you only need a one-day license for your wedding or nonprofit event, we can help you get licensed for that, too. Thanks for watching; Cheers! 800-785-0161
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