How to Get a Liquor License in Delaware

Getting a liquor license is the first and most important step for any business wishing to sell alcohol. The government requires some type of license to sell liquor and Delaware is no different. For any establishment to legally sell liquor, it must first get the approval of the Delaware Alcohol Beverage Commission (ABC). Although it might seem a daunting task, acquiring a license is a matter of paperwork, time and money.

First contact the alcohol commission and present a certificate of compliance from city or county where the establishment will be selling liquor. This requires showing the establishment has been properly zoned, all permits are in place and the other licenses have been approved by the local governments.

Applicants must submit the names and addresses of everything within 200 feet of the properties where they will be selling the liquor. There are some exceptions, including an establishment inside a mall or along side an ocean, lake or river. The rules for those properties are different concerning the radius of the required addresses.

Submit a floor plan of the proposed establishment. The commission will be looking to see how and where the business is going to be set up and if it meets the rules set forth by the commission (those will be provided by the commission upon request).

Applicants must acquire a copy of the ABC's rules for selling liquor in the state of Delaware. This costs $50 and can be obtained through the ABC.

All documents must be taken to the commission and presented for what is called preview. Gather up and recheck that all documents are in place and are valid before scheduling a review. It is also wise to know the date the establishment is opening. This will help determine the right time to file for a license and aid with other legal issues such as notifying the public.


  • Remain calm at all times. Remember you are dealing with people and being a pain will only hurt the process.


  • Double check and recheck all paper work. Any error will risk disapproval for a license.

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