Is a Mobile Beer Bar Business Legal?

Did you know the most popular alcoholic beverage in the United States is beer? People love their beer, whether it’s craft or the standard go-to —  Budweiser or Coors brands. 

Having a beer business is a dream for many, especially a mobile beer business. You can reach your customer base quicker while putting your spin on things. But, there is more to open up any type of business than just creating a business name and pricing for your products.

Before you can open up your mobile beer bar, you’ll need to understand the legalities surrounding it. The legalities may be complicated depending on your city or state, but we’ve taken the time to break down the basics of what you need to do before purchasing your draught trailer and opening up your mobile beer bar.  

What is a Liquor Law and Why Do We Have Them?

Liquor laws have been put in place to govern the consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages. Every state has liquor laws. It will vary from state to state and sometimes region to region. For example, the area you live in may prohibit you from selling alcohol on Sundays or at certain times of the day. 

Let’s further dissect liquor laws. The law governs: 

  • Who can purchase alcoholic beverages
  • Who can buy alcoholic beverages
  • Where can alcohol be sold
  • What times can alcohol be sold
  • Driving and drinking (DUI laws) along with open container laws
  • Issuing liquor licenses to serve alcohol
  • Drinking at venues that serve alcohol

What Liquor License Do I Need to Operate My Mobile Beer Bar?

When it comes to obtaining your liquor license to operate your mobile beer bar, you’ll notice that there are a handful of licenses that may pertain to your business, such as: 

  • Restaurant/All Liquor/Full Liquor License
  • Beer and Wine Liquor License
  • Liquor Store License/Retail License
  • Brewery License
  • Tavern License
  • Hotel License
  • Club License
  • Eating Place License

To legally operate your mobile beer bar, at the very least you’ll need the beer and wine liquor license. Getting this license will only allow you to sell beer and wine. You will not be permitted to sell hard liquor or spirits with a beer and wine license. 

How to Get My Liquor License?

Like any other business, there will also be some legal issues you have to work through. A mobile beer bar is no different. Each state handles liquor licenses differently. 

For instance, California, New York, Ohio, and Texas will not give you a liquor license if you are operating a mobile beer bar, so you will NOT be able to sell alcohol from a mobile beer bar in these states. This is due to the “mobile” part of your business. These states want you to stay put in one static location if you are planning to serve. However, that doesn’t mean your business idea is out the window because you can still work private events. 

Several special event trailers sell beer at corporate events, weddings, and other parties that require catering. These events may pick and choose what they want at their party, and it’ll be up to you to supply what they request. This loophole allows you to operate your business, albeit within certain limits.

Below we’ve compiled some pertinent state requirements concerning liquor licenses: 

State Requirements for Liquor Licenses

Requirements for liquor licenses vary from state to state. For instance, those in Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington will require you to fill out yearly paperwork for your business. 

Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia require a retail or restaurant location liquor license. 

Florida, Georgia,  Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Wisconsin require all food catering companies that work with the sale of alcohol to have a liquor license. 

If you are in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah, a liquor license is not required. 

Do I Need to be ABC Certified?

In some states, you’ll need to be Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) certified. Anyone that is serving alcohol to consumers in these states needs to complete the ABC certification. The ABC certification process will go over: 

  • Basic Understanding of Alcohol
  • The Effects of Alcohol on the Body
  • How to Serve Alcohol Responsibly
  • Serving Guests in a Way That’ll Minimize the Risk to the Guest

The states you’ll need to be ABC certified are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska 
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Rhode Island
  • Wisconsin

Do I Need Insurance for My Mobile Beer Business?

In short, yes, you will need an insurance policy for your business. Having insurance protects you from any lawsuit on a personal level. 

When looking at policies, you’ll need a policy that covers: 

  • General Liability
  • Liquor Liability
  • Commercial Car Insurance
  • Workers Compensation Insurance

These 4 parts are crucial when getting an insurance policy. The general liability will cover you for property damage, body damage, and reputational damage. For instance, if a patron trips over a chair and breaks their leg, you’ll be covered. 

The liquor liability portion will cover you if there is bodily harm or damage by a patron who has consumed alcohol. For instance, if a patron has had a couple of drinks and proceeds to fall off their chair and bust their head open, you’ll be covered. 

The commercial car insurance will cover your vehicle you are using to tow your draught trailer and your trailer itself. Commercial car insurance covers car insurance on a retail level. 

For workers’ compensation insurance, you will only need this if you plan on having employees. The workers’ compensation insurance will cover any employee or self-employed contractor if they get hurt while on the job. 

Is a Mobile Beer Bar Legal? You Bet! Let Us Help You Get Your Business Trailer

As long as you get the proper licensing in the state, you will have a fully legal mobile beer bar. 

If you’re ready to go with your new mobile bar business, we can help you obtain what might be the most crucial tool to your business —  the trailer itself. 

Triple B Trailers has been in business for over 60 years and we’re here to help you get the perfect trailer to meet all of your and your customer’s needs. Our trailers are bar-ready and come in 6 different models for exactly the setup you need. 

Ready to get your mobile beer bar on the road? Check out our website today and take a look at our selection! You handle the paperwork, and we’ll handle getting you the trailer of your dreams.

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and this article does not constitute legal advice. Always consult your local state and county guidelines for the most current alcohol sales and service regulations in your area.