September 11, 2020

The Liquor License Lottery is here!

Hello hospitality friends, 

The 2020 ABC Priority Drawing (AKA the “Liquor License Lottery”) is here! 

As you all know, purchasing a full alcohol license can be very expensive – even during COVID-19. However, once a year, the ABC issues a few new “original” licenses and holds a drawing to see who gets them. These new licenses are much cheaper than those at the typical fair market price, so people refer to the Priority Drawing as “The Lottery.” The ABC will hold a second drawing on the same day that allows applicants to search for a license within a different county with lower fair market prices. The ABC refers to this one as the “Inter-County Transfer” Drawing. 

Here are the highlights: 

  • The registration period to enter the Drawing is from September 14–25. The Drawing itself will be held on Thursday, October 29 at 10:00 a.m.
  • The Original Drawing is $15,835 to enter (refundable if not selected minus $100 for admin costs)
  • The Inter-County Transfer is $6,000 to enter (refundable if not selected minus $100 for admin costs). Successful applicants will be required to purchase a license in another county for an additional fee. 
  • The priority application fee must be paid by certified check, cashier’s check, or money order only.
  • Applying for both Drawings requires separate applications and checks.
  • All entities applying for a license must have been registered in California before July 31.
  • Successful applicants will be required to file a complete ABC application – with an executed lease agreement for their location – within 90 days of the Drawing. 
  • Applicants will still be required to obtain approval from the local City or Municipality – CUP, AUP, AE, etc. 
  • Successful applicants cannot change their entity name or entity type for two years. They may not change their ownership by more than 49% for two years. 
  • Inter-County winners cannot sell their licenses for more than $6,000 for five years. 

The ABC’s instructions and forms can be found here

You can hire us to walk you through the process and answer any questions that you may have about the Priority Drawing. If you win, we can assist you with the ABC application, locate an Inter-County license if you need one, and obtain the local Municipal approval. 

Feel free to reach out to for more information. 

Good luck to everyone, and we hope to see you in person soon!