ABC’s of ABC

When purchasing a restaurant, bar, liquor store, mini-market, wine shop, catering business, or any number of other businesses where the selling or serving of alcohol is involved-you will need to deal with the application process of the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control Board. The ABC process is a necessary step for the new business owner whether you are stepping into an existing business or starting up a new one. In either instance the application process is fairly similar.

A. Each county has its own ABC office. First go to your local ABC office and request the required paperwork that you will need to bring to your interview.
B. After you complete the paperwork, contact the office to set up an interview.
C. Once your paperwork is in order, you will be given materials to post on-site at your business for a period of 30 days.
D. After the 30 day period, most required items should be completed, including the balance of the sale price into the escrow account.
E. At this point, Escrow prepares ABC’s 226 form, confirming everything is complete for a transfer of the license to occur.
F. The local ABC office will now review all of the paperwork before sending it onto Sacramento for the license to transfer into your name.

This is the short and sweet version of the ABC’s of ABC. They have a web page which effectively covers the process, including a handy method of tracking the process of your application. The web site is and it is helpful to have the license number to track the progress.

Do not hesitate to call with any questions. As with most things, unusual circumstances arise and know that we’re here to help.

You might find it interesting to know how many liquor licenses there are in the Coachella Valley for restaurants and bars. The figures appeared recently in an article in THE DESERT SUN who utilized the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control as the source.

Cathedral City 76
Coachella 25
Desert Hot Springs 24
Indian Wells 11
Indio 68
La Quinta 62
Palm Desert 137
Palm Springs 178
Rancho Mirage 66

Author Profile:

Robert Hughes is a commercial broker and president of Hughes Properties, Inc. in Palm Springs. An MBA from USC, Hughes has a wide variety of entrepreneurial experience with the personal ownership and sale of over sixteen businesses, including founder and publisher of Orange Coast Magazine. Additional business tips can be found at

Contact Hughes Properties for more information and to schedule a meeting.

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