Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: I need a liquor permit, how do I apply for one?
A: The Ohio Division of Liquor Control issues liquor permits pursuant to a quota system based on population. This means that there is a finite number of liquor permits available in each political subdivision, or "precinct", depending on the local population.
Q2: I need to buy a liquor permit, but my precinct is over the local quota limit. Can I still buy one?
A: Yes - you can transfer a permit via the TREX process, assuming your local authorities will approve the transfer.
Q3: I've heard I cannot actually "buy" a liquor permit in Ohio - is this true?
A: The State of Ohio does not allow you to purchase a liquor permit on its own, however it does allow you to purchase a liquor permit as part of a group of assets. Typically, this is established by buying a small number of tangible items, such as chairs, tables, napkins, and salt/pepper shakers.
Q4: Do I need to have my premises "built-out" before I get my liquor permit?
A: Yes - the Ohio Division of Liquor Control will not approve a new permit or transfer application unless the premises is "built-out" and passes local inspection.
Q5: Do I have to serve food to have a D-Class (bar/tavern) Permit?
A: Yes - technically, all D-Class permits require that the permit-holder be a licensed "food service operator", which requires at a minimum to serve hot and cold non-alcoholic drinks, in addition to hot soup and sandwiches. However, the D-5 allows for the "catering exception", which does not require food preparation on-site so long as you allow for catering by local vendors and have menus available in the facility.
If you have general questions about this process, we recommend that you consult with a legal professional with liquor law experience.