How to Get a Liquor License

Step 1: Get Application Forms and Information

All the License and Permit Application Forms that you need to file are available online on our website. You may also contact the Division of Liquor Licensing and Enforcement at (207) 624-7220 or by email at MaineLiquor@maine.gov to request application materials or get additional information.

Step 2: Complete Application

For an On-Premise License (Bar, Restaurant, Hotel, Etc.)

In order to complete your application for an On-Premise License, the municipality or in the case of an unorganized township, the county where your business will be located must approve your application. The application has a section that must be completed by the municipality or county. The municipality or county may hold a public hearing on whether to grant or deny your application.

If the municipality or county requires that your application have a public hearing, Maine law, Title 28-A Section §653(1)(B) requires the applicant to pay the municipality or county for the cost to advertise its pending application. The notice must run in the local/weekly newspaper for 3 consecutive days prior to the hearing date by the municipality or the county to give notice to the public who may want to provide information or give input on your application.

For a Retail or Off-Premise License

Retail and Off-Premise license applications do not require municipal or county approval. If the location of your business is in an unorganized township in Maine, you must pay the $10.00 application fee directly to the County. A receipt of this payment to the County must accompany your application to the Division. If the location of your business is in an organized municipality, the $10.00 application fee must accompany your application to the Division.

Step 3: Submit Application

Please submit your application to the Division together with a check for the appropriate application fee. Failure to submit the application fee will result in the rejection of the application and ultimately delay you in starting your business.

Step 4: Review and Acceptance of Application

Once your completed application is received with proper filing order together with the correct filing fee, the Division will process your application. The processing of liquor applications may include a background investigation on the applicant by the Division and will include an inspection of the proposed premises. An official with the Division will contact you to set up a date and time for an inspection of the premises.

The inspection will consist of:

  • Reviewing the proposed designated area for sale and/or consumption of liquor;
  • Reviewing all other required licenses for your business type (see Required Permit List (PDF 14.7 KB)); and
  • Checking for necessary and required equipment applicable to license being sought

If all requirements are met, the State Liquor Licensing Inspector will issue the applicant a temporary license allowing purchases and sales of liquors as applicable to the license.

Oversight by the Division; Violations

After licensing occurs, the Division monitors all licensed premises for compliance with Maine liquor laws. The Division has staff assigned to cover the State for compliance and enforcement activities. Part of the ongoing compliance activities are unannounced inspections of premises.

These inspections will be primarily focused on:

  • Presence of a Liquor License in the premises;
  • Food Inventory (if required as a condition of your license);
  • Liquid Inventory
  • Records of your business including, but not limited to:
    • Liquor and Food Purchases and Sales;
    • Completed Affidavits from Employees;
    • Operating Hours; and
    • Seating Capacity;
  • Permits required for any live entertainment with dancing; and
  • Compliance with selling or serving to minors

If a violation is discovered as part of any inspection or complaint, the Inspector will take the appropriate action. A licensee may receive an official warning or be cited for the violation and referred for prosecution. If a licensee is cited for a violation, there will be an opportunity to resolve the issue through a consent decree. However, if no agreement can be made, the matter will be handled by the District Court.

The Division wants to minimize non-compliance by licensees. Please contact the Division (see Step 1 for contact information) for information or assistance in managing your business appropriately under Maine’s liquor laws. The Division is here to assist you in being good stewards of your liquor license.