If you’re considering starting a liquor business in Canada’s prairie provinces, you may be wondering how to get a liquor license in Alberta. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all template for Canadian liquor licensing because each province implements their own regulations, oversight, and application processes. This means that liquor business start-ups must either become familiar with the myriad requirements of Alberta, Liquor, Gaming & Cannabis (AGLC) licenses, or, hire an Alberta liquor license consultant.
Rebecca Hardin, owner and lead liquor license consultant at Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors, has a deep understanding of Alberta liquor licensing requirements. We take the hassle and confusion out of liquor licensing.
There are 11 types of Alberta liquor licenses.
There are four types of Class A liquor licenses: minors allowed, minors prohibited, manufacturer’s taproom and manufacturer’s lounge.
The minors allowed license is for restaurants and other businesses who primarily serve food.
The minors prohibited license is for pubs, bars, nightclubs and other businesses who primarily serve alcohol.
A taproom license is for the sale and consumption of liquor on the manufacturer’s premises.
A manufacturer’s lounge license is for the sale and consumption of their products on-premise so customers can assess products.
A Class B liquor license is required for the sale of liquor at sports stadiums and arenas, recreational facilities, convention centres, theatres, racetracks, aircraft, trains and watercraft.
A Class C liquor license is required for private member-only clubs, canteens (military, police, correctional training facilities), post-secondary institutions, nursing homes and hospitals.
Class A, B, and C licensees may apply for caterer’s extensions that allows liquor service at functions away from the licensed premises.
A Class D liquor license is required for the sale of liquor for off-premises consumption by retail liquor stores, hotel and manufacturer off-sales, and commercial caterers. The license is also required for delivery businesses to deliver liquor and for sacramental wine sold by church supply businesses.
A Class E liquor license is for liquor manufacturers (distillers, vintners, breweries), estate manufactures (grower-vintners) who grow a minimum of 80% of the product used in the wine they produce, and blenders and packagers who blend, flavour or package the products of AGLC-approved liquor suppliers.
A Class F license is required for ferment-on-premise businesses who provide ingredients and equipment to customers for the purpose of making beer, wine or cider on-premise. Liquor may not be packaged and sold by ferment-on-premise facilities.
Public Special Events
A public special events liquor license (SEL) is for the sale and consumption of alcohol at public festivals, beer gardens, and food and wine fairs hosted by non-profits, municipalities or businesses.
Private Special Events
A private special events license is required for private functions such as weddings, anniversaries, and family reunions. The private special events license is required whether liquor is sold to guests or provided to guests free of charge.
A hospitality liquor license is required for manufacturers and liquor agencies who provide free tastings to customers within an on-premises room.
An industrial license is required to store and use ethyl-alcohol in manufacturing, or, for the storage of beer, wine and spirits used in food preparation.
A competition liquor license is for the storage, transport, and tasting of homemade wine, beer and cider at judged competition events.
Because AGLC licensing requirements do change over time, always refer to the ALGC liquor licensing web pages for the most up-to-date information.
Working with Rebecca Hardin, lead consultant at Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors, increases the chances of Alberta liquor license application approval. We make it easy, guiding you every step of the way. Once you have a license, we protect your considerable investment in time and money by providing operational oversight, implementing policy and procedures manuals, and training.