…When Circumstances Change (for an alcoholic beverage licensee)

For holders of alcoholic beverage licenses who would like to change the conditions on their license, hope springs!

Amendments to Sections 23800 and 23803 of the Business and Professions Code have now gone into effect to allow for changes to conditions on a license if “the situation in which there have been substantial changes in the totality of circumstances such that the department determines that the current circumstances reasonably justify the modification or removal of the conditions.

Just days before Senate Bill 1503 was approved by the Governor, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control issued one of its first-ever precedential decisions (a second was also adopted the same day). That precedential decision created a totality of circumstances standard for reviewing petitions to change conditions on licenses. (SB 1503: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1503; Precedential Decision No. 18-01-E, http://abc.ca.gov/Legal/Precedential/PAON%20Carlsbad%20LLC.pdf)

That precedential decision, and now the change to the Business and Professions Code, should make it easier for licensees to level their local playing fields.

There is still a $100 application fee, but things like physical changes or alterations made to the licensed premises (such as patios), or a change in the neighborhood, can now more easily allow a business to “catch up” to the rest of the area in terms of hours of sales/service or other conditions that no longer make sense.

The attorneys at Simas & Associates have handled condition changes and, more generally, ABC license issues. Call us today if you have a question.

As an aside, Simas & Associates is looking forward to presenting to the Paso Robles Wine Alliance next month.