When you have a license to sell alcohol, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you abide by the state laws and regulations. In some states, when a business closes or leaves an establishment or location, it must take its license with them in a liquor license transfer, also known as an ABC License Transfer. If you’re interested in transferring your ABC (alcoholic beverage control) license, here are essential considerations you should take into account before making any decisions.

Steps to Transfer an ABC License

The process for transferring an ABC license varies depending on the state. The first step is to find out if it’s even possible in your state, and the next steps are to determine which licenses can be transferred and how to go about filing for a transfer. Typically, transferring an ABC license involves filling out paperwork and paying fees.

If your state does allow for transfers, you’ll need to know what type of licenses may be transferred before applying for one. Generally speaking, these licenses are liquor licenses, beer-and-wine-only licenses, off-sale beer, and wine-only licenses, or off-sale spirituous liquor-only licenses. You can find out by contacting your local Alcoholic Beverage Control Board office or finding the information online.

Your next step will be to determine what documents you will need before applying for your license transfer request. These documents depend on the type of license that needs to be transferred and other factors like whether or not you’re changing locations or just changing ownership within the same location.


There are several considerations to consider before deciding to transfer your license. The ABC may authorize your request if you, the proposed transferee, and the successor premises meet specific conditions set out in Section 2 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.

These requirements are designed to protect public safety. For example, the ABC will only authorize a transfer if there is no evidence that the new licensee has been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor involving alcohol, which revokes his or her license.

The ABC may deny a license transfer if the proposed transferee is not qualified, does not meet all of the qualifications, or the proposed transferee is substantially and adversely related to public health and safety. The ABC has the discretion to approve or deny license transfers and considers the following factors when determining whether to approve a license transfer request from one licensee to another:

-whether the new licensee is qualified in accordance with state law

-the adequacy of the proposed arrangement in place for maintaining effective control against unlawful sales of alcoholic beverages

-whether the proposed transferee will be able to comply with all applicable provisions of law related to wine and spirit wholesalers

Local Regulations

The requirements for a license transfer vary from state to state, so it’s essential to check your local regulations before making any decisions. In most cases, the location of the business is not a consideration. It would help if you also kept in mind that some states require you to notify the ABC of your intent to transfer a license at least 30 days before you apply. You may also need to provide a liquidation report if your business will close down or leave an establishment or location. If you have questions about transferring licenses, it’s best to ask your local ABC office for more information.

Have More Questions about ABC License Transfer?

Bay Area Escrow can answer any questions or concerns you may have about ABC license transfer. If you’re ready to schedule our services, give us a call at (925) 831-9099!