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Liquor By the Drink - Caterer

A catering license allows you to sell alcohol, wine, beer and high gravity beer at various locations in a city or county which has authorized the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on premise.

A catering license is valid for one year from the date of issue. The forms and fees for this license are available under Public Information and Forms.


Requirements

  • A caterer operates a permanent catering hall on an exclusive basis.
  • A caterer has a complete and adequate commercial kitchen facility
  • A caterer is licensed as a caterer by the Tennessee Department of Health, unless the catering hall is licensed as a restaurant

Restrictions

  • No person, firm or corporation having at least a five percent (5%) ownership interest in the establishment can have any conviction for 10 years prior to the application of a violation of the laws governing the sale or manufacture of alcoholic beverages or of any felony.
  • No entity holding a liquor-by-the-drink license shall employ any person to serve beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages that does not possess a server permit from the commission. That permit must be on the person of such employee, or on the premises of the licensed establishment subject to inspection by the commission or its duly authorized agent.
  • Licensed caterers may only sell alcoholic beverages on a by-the-drink basis, collecting appropriate taxes, and only in cities, municipalities, and/or counties where such sales are authorized. All proceeds from the sale of the alcoholic beverages must be deposited into the caterer’s monetary account(s). No third party shall receive any proceeds from the sale of alcoholic beverages at a catered event.
  • Licensed caterers must also provide food at the event. No caterer can provide only alcohol.
  • Licensed caterers must notify the TABC of any catered event on the notice of catered event form at least two full business days prior to the event during state working hours, prevailing time.
  • Alcohol may be transported by the caterer to the premises of the catered event no earlier than 8:00 a.m. At the conclusion of the catered event, all alcohol must be removed from the premises no later than twelve (12) noon of the following day.

More Information
New Application Process

A non-refundable application process fee of $300.00 shall be paid when the application is initially submitted.
When your application documents are almost complete, call your local TABC office and make an appointment to come in so your application can be reviewed in your presence. If you prefer to mail your application in, be sure to include your contact information.

  • Fill out and submit the Application for License to Sell Alcoholic Beverages on Premise. The application for license to sell alcoholic beverages on premise should be fully complete in duplicate, with both copies notarized.
  • Proof of Possession
    • A Lease, Deed or other acceptable documentation, indicating the applicant is actually leasing or in possession of the property, shall be furnished to this office. It is also required for the applicant to furnish a copy of the Deed that is registered with the Register of Deed's Office. These documents shall be complete and legible.
    • If the application is from a corporation, LLC, or partnership, the lease should be to that entity that will hold the license.
  • If you have a management agreement, submit a copy to the TABC.
  • If you have a purchase agreement or bill of sale, submit a copy to the TABC.
  • If you have a loan associated with the purchase or start-up of this business, submit a copy of your loan documentation.
  • Fill out and submit the Alcoholic Beverage Commission Questionnaire
    • Owners, partners, officers, managers and/or any person who owns five percent (5%) or more in the corporation/business should complete these forms. All questions should be answered, even if the answer is N/A (not applicable), and the questionnaire should be signed and notarized.
  • Fill out and submit the List of Corporate Stockholders and Officers with names, titles and percentages of ownership.
  • Fill out and submit the Declaration of Citizenship with the appropriate copies of your Identification.
    • Owners, partners, officers, and/or any person who owns five percent (5%) or more should complete the declaration of citizenship form.
  • Submit a copy of the menu.
    • Must be properly printed - not handwritten – with prices. (It is not necessary to provide the typical plastic cover or jacket with the menu.)
  • Certificate of Occupancy
    • The Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the local municipality’s codes department. Please contact the local codes department in the jurisdiction in which the store will be located for additional information. This comes from the building inspector, stating that the building meets code, not the occupancy number from the fire marshal.
  • Submit a copy of your city/county business license.
  • Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission inspects the premises.
    • An inspection will be conducted only when an application has been submitted to the local TABC office, and the establishment is ready to open. All fire and building inspections must be complete and satisfactory: tables placed in their final location; any patio areas are defined; required signs are posted; etc. The applicant should contact the local TABC office and schedule an inspection. The agent will bring you a copy of the rules and regulations and the pregnancy warning sign.
  • Other documentation may be requested after your application is submitted.
  • Your annual license fee will be due after the inspection, before the license can be issued.

Secretary of State

  • Submit a copy of your charter, Articles of Organization or Partnership Agreement from the State of Tennessee.
    • (This document is required only if the applicant is a corporation, a limited liability company (LLC) or a formal partnership.) A filed copy of the Tennessee charter must be furnished to the local TABC office. If an out-of-state charter has been issued, then approval to do business in the State of Tennessee must be obtained from the Tennessee Secretary of State's Office, 6th Floor, William Snodgrass Building, 7th Avenue North between Charlotte Avenue and Union Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee, telephone (615) 741-2286. If a corporation is registered out-of-state, then a copy of that charter should also be furnished.
  • Submit a copy of the Certificate of Existence from the Secretary of State’s office if you are a corporation or LLC.

Department Of Revenue

  • From the Tennessee Department of Revenue, the applicant must obtain a sales tax number, liquor-by-the-drink tax number, and a bond application. For a liquor-by-the-drink establishment, the bond requirement is $10,000.00. The bond should be submitted to the Department of Revenue. Please be advised that written verification from the Department of Revenue that the applicant has a valid bond must be received by the TABC prior to the issuance of any license.
  • Application for Registration sales and use tax
    • Submit the original application to the Department of Revenue and submit a copy to the TABC. The TABC will need a copy of the sales and use tax certificate of registration when received from the Department of Revenue.
  • Fill out and submit the Price Schedule for Sales of Alcoholic Beverages for Consumption on the Premises to the Department of Revenue.
    • Submit the original to Department of Revenue and submit a copy with your application to the TABC. Information and questions pertaining to this form should be directed to the Department of Revenue.

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

  • Complete the Alcohol Dealer Registration form, submit a copy of the completed form to the TABC and mail the original to the Cincinnati address for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau on page 2 of the form.
  • City or County Privilege Tax
    • After the insurance of an on-premise consumption license by the TABC, the licensee must also pay a privilege tax to the local municipality or county. The privilege tax is limited to license fees set in 2003 according to T.C.A.§ 57-4-301(b). Please contact the local municipality and/or county in which the establishment is located for additional information.

* All forms must be completely filled out, signed and notarized.

* All payments must be made with a money order, cashier’s check or business check from the licensed establishment and made payable to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Global money orders will not be accepted.

* Notaries are available at the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission office for walk in clients. You must be present, have proper identification, and the notary must witness your signature.

Renewal Information

Approximately one month prior to your expiration date a TABC agent will conduct a renewal inspection at your establishment. All documents and the renewal fee should be received in the TABC office prior to the expiration date of the license. You must be current on all taxes and have a valid bond in place before your license can renew. Call the Department of Revenue to verify that your taxes and bond are current before submitting your renewal paperwork to the TABC. If your taxes and bond are not current by the time your license expires, you can be fined for a late renewal, even if your renewal was received in the TABC office prior to expiration.

  • Submit the renewal license fee (listed on the TABC inspection sheet.
  • Fill out and submit the Application for license to Sell Alcoholic Beverages on Premise. The application for license to Sell Alcoholic Beverages on Premise should be fully complete in duplicate, with both copies signed and notarized.
  • Fill out and submit a completed stockholders/officers/members form.
  • Submit any other documentation required for your renewal.

* All forms must be completely filled out, signed and notarized.

* All payments must be made with a money order, cashier’s check or business check from the licensed establishment and made payable to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Global money orders will not be accepted.

* Notaries are available at the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission office for walk in clients. You must be present, have proper identification, and the notary must witness your signature.