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Calfee's Liquor and Alcohol Licensing and Regulation practice group focuses on assisting clients with the permitting, distribution, sale, and regulation of liquor and alcohol. We serve as trusted advisors to the liquor, food and beverage, and hospitality industries, from developers and municipalities to the manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of products. Our attorneys work in tandem with municipalities and developers who wish to grant multiple permits to new spaces. We also assist with the selling, purchasing, and transferring of permits.

While the group primarily focuses on assisting clients with issues that arise as part of the permitting and regulatory process, we also offer the added benefit of being a full-service business law firm. We collaborate across our various practice groups to assist clients with intellectual property, real estate, tax, and business issues in this constantly changing arena. Additionally, our group includes members of our Government Relations practice, who draw upon their specialized skill sets and experience to provide legislative and policy support on issues of importance to our clients in this highly regulated industry. We represent one of the world's largest spirits manufacturers in all its legislative dealings in Ohio, and one of our practice group members previously represented the client company on government relations matters throughout the Midwest region.

Our team also includes a former legislative liaison with the Ohio Department of Commerce (ODOC) who worked closely with the Department's Division of Liquor Control, allowing our group to leverage our considerable experience to better serve our clients.





Liquor and alcohol permitting is key for both the retail and industrial/distribution aspects of a successful business. While obtaining the appropriate permits for operations is extremely important, businesses need to ensure they also are complying with state and federal statutory and administrative regulations to maintain the permits once granted.

Our experience in this area is all-encompassing, including assisting with the acquisition and maintenance of liquor permits, assessing the permit needs of potential tenants, evaluating the availability of permits, and assisting with multi-state transactions involving permit transfer issues. We also provide legal guidance to municipalities, developers, and owners in assessing the liquor permit needs of potential tenants. Additionally, we have been successful in establishing community entertainment districts for urban commercial developments.

We assist with:

  • Transfer applications
  • Stock Transfer applications
  • Permits for expansion of premises
  • Lease renewal negotiations through our Real Estate Law practice

We often represent our clients' interests before the Division of Liquor Control on matters such as permitting for new retail spaces, transactions involving liquor permit transfer issues, complying with Ohio's complex liquor and alcohol regulations, and other regulatory matters.


Our group represents clients before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission in actions related to licensing, enforcement actions, administrative hearings, and violation notices. We assist clients such as owners, developers, and municipalities in obtaining the requisite licenses for business functions, all while maintaining regulatory compliance.

Additional Services

Due to the unique complexities of the liquor and alcohol industry, it can be challenging to find an attorney who meets all of a business's legal needs. At Calfee, we draw upon practitioners throughout the firm who assist with matters involving business transactions (including site acquisition/disposition), business sales, and intellectual property issues. We also assist clients with the initial setup of their business operations and advise on corporate structure, tax issues, and investment options.


Should liquor and alcohol industry clients encounter tax issues, our attorneys can assist in the following ways:

  • Negotiate with and appear before the Ohio Department of Taxation to resolve permit holders' sales tax and withholding tax issues.
  • Negotiate with and appear before the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation on clients' worker's compensation tax issues.
  • Negotiate with and appear before the Ohio Attorney General's Office on sales tax collection issues.
  • Appear before municipal and common pleas courts to defend employees and owners charged criminally with violations of the Ohio Revised Code.

Real Estate

Calfee's Real Estate practice is well equipped to work with new or existing liquor and retail businesses with acquisitions/divestitures, project development, real estate finance, leasing, land use and zoning, real estate tax and investments, and other issues.

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