Is Your Liquor License Creeping Up On Neighbors? Alcohol Beverage Distance Separation Requirements

By: Valerie Haber, Shareholder

If you have tried getting a liquor license for your bar, nightclub, restaurant, liquor store, or other alcohol beverage establishment, you likely confronted the dreaded “alcohol distance separation requirements.” Before you commit to a location for your business, it is prudent to confirm that the location that will be covered by a liquor license isn’t creeping into prohibited territory. 

What is a “distance separation requirement”? Distance separation requirements vary by state and local jurisdiction, but generally mandate a minimum distance between an establishment with a liquor license and neighboring religious institutions, schools, or other liquor licenses. Sometimes these laws also say that you cannot get a liquor license if you are too close to a government building or public park.  Why do these laws exist?  Some cities want to prevent an oversaturation of bars with liquor licenses in a particular area. Others want to make sure drinking establishments aren’t too close to schools to prevent access of alcohol beverages by minors, or other public policy-based rationale.

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