How to get licensed to brew & sell beer

Updated April 17, 2017

Home brewing allows you to develop a beer to your own taste and lets you experiment with varieties. You are not required to get a liquor license in most states if you plan on drinking your beer yourself. A license is required, however, if you plan on selling the beer that you brew. Check with your state regarding local beer distribution laws and licensing procedures.

Select the amount of beer that you will brew during the year. If you are unsure of the amount but think that it will be a big enough batch of beer for you to sell, then you should get a beer distributing license. Talk to your state's liquor and alcohol department to answer specific questions.

Get an application for a license to brew beer from your state's liquor and alcohol commission. Applications and associated fees vary from state to state. Fill out the application completely and file it with the state liquor and alcohol department. You will be required to pay the fee at the time you file the application so plan accordingly.

Obtain an application to sell beer, which is different from your application to brew beer. Selling beer requires that you have a license, and the state regulates alcohol licenses. File the completed application and pay the associated fees with your relevant state office. Each state requires that you follow their laws so if you move from one state to another state you will be required to fill out a new application.

Wait for the state to notify you in writing that you have a license to brew and distribute beer. Do not sell beer without a state license for this can result in heavy fines.


Keep a copy of any applications that you file with the state for your records. Post any beer related licenses in a place where customers and state representatives can see them.


Do not sell any other types of alcohol. Your beer license is good for selling beer only. Follow state laws and do not defy state regulations. Violations could result in fines.

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About the Author

Angela Reinholz is a full-time freelance writer. Reinholz started writing professionally in 2007, specializing in animals and social work with some branching off into legal matters. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern New Hampshire University and an associate degree in network administration from McIntosh College, located in Dover, N.H.