What You Need to Know as a Brewery Owner for License Renewals
Navigating the license renewal process is necessary to keep your business moving forward.
It takes a start-up craft brewery an average of 14 months to complete the licensing process for the federal, state and local governments. And only 12 months later, and every 12 months after that, owners need to renew their licenses and make sure they remain in compliance with the various agencies that regulate breweries.
Breweries are some of the most regulated businesses in the country, which includes the renewal process as well. Here's what brewery owners need to know about the license renewal process:
Typically, renewing your licenses is easier than the original process, which may have involved an inspection of your premises and a lengthy personal interview. Still, there can be pitfalls in the renewal process that can affect your business, especially if you aren't conscientious about getting your paperwork in on time.
Things may have changed in the last year. For one thing, your business may have grown in size or in output. It's possible that you no longer fit the same category as when you originally got licensed, or that your size means that you need to fill out different paperwork. Not only might your business have changed, but licensing agencies change their requirements and regulations all the time. Do a little research into the licensing agencies and see if anything has changed or if you need to change the way you are licensed due to growth.
Check your paperwork. Be sure you know when you have to renew by and expect the process to take several weeks. File early to avoid being shut down temporarily if the renewal doesn't get processed in time.
Streamline the process. For some licensing agencies, forms are available online to be simply filled out and submitted with the proper fee. Check into whether it's possible to renew automatically so that you don't risk operations being interrupted if you forget to renew.
Simplifying the renewal process may give you more time to do what you do best--brewing great beer.
Hire help, but supervise. Many business owners hire help for their legal and accounting tasks, but ultimately, the responsibility comes down to the owner. Follow up with your staff to make sure they are aware of licensing and renewal requirements and time frames so that you remain in compliance.
Stay in compliance with out-of-state distribution requirements. If you have begun to distribute your beer out of state in the last year, some requirements and regulations on your business may have changed. Be sure you are prepared for these different rules and that you plan to stay in compliance as you renew.
If your renewal is denied for any reason, hire expert legal help to file your appeals and figure out why the renewal was denied. Legal counsel should ask that you be allowed to keep operating as you plead your case. Do not try to navigate this legal maze on your own, as it could get very complicated.
Ask for help if you hit any snags in your renewal process. This would be the perfect time to contact any connections you have in the government, including your local representative and your representative to the state or federal congressional body. Helping their constituents with problems like these is part of a representative's job, so be persistent with your requests.
If you liked this article, you may also like: Starting a Brewery: 4 Tips on How to Cut Through the Red Tape.