Alcoholic Beverage Permit

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Alcoholic Beverage Permit

What is an Alcoholic Beverage Permit?

An Alcoholic beverage permit is a written certificate issued by the State of Indiana through the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission (ATC) that must be displayed by any business that sells, serves, dispenses, manufactures or distributes any beverages or drinks containing alcohol.  The City of South Bend does not issue these permits, although permission from the City of South Bend is required for two types of permits: 1) a Beer & wine temporary permit and 2) a Beer, wine & liquor retailer - Riverfront permit.  The local Alcoholic Beverage Board meets the fourth Wednesday each month in the County City Building, in South Bend, to make recommendations about local permits to the State Commission.  For more information, visit the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission website.

What is the cost for an Alcoholic Beverage Permit?

The cost of a permit charged by the State of Indiana varies depending upon the type of permit requested.  The costs for each type permit are posted on the website of the ATC.  To see the cost for obtaining an alcohol permit, click here.  A temporary permit for a one day event requires the Beer & wine temporary permit, which is currently $50.00.

Certain alcoholic beverage permits, including those in South Bend and Mishawaka, Indiana, are limited in number based on population totals.  Where there is more demand for a permit than the number of permits available through the ATC, persons desiring a permit must acquire a permit privately from another permit holder.  They must then apply to the ATC for transfer of that permit.  This usually involves a negotiated cost payable to the transferor that is not part of the ATC’s administrative fee for transfer.

What is a Riverfront Development Type Alcoholic Beverage Permit?

In South Bend, riverfront development permits are for specific, designated areas near downtown South Bend that are within 1,000 feet of the St. Joseph River.  They require a Beer, wine & liquor retailer - Riverfront permit.  These type of permits do not involve an extra cost above the administrative fee charged by the ATC and Downtown South Bend, but they cannot be transferred and are subject to stricter eligibility rules.  For information about local procedures, eligibility, and restrictions on riverfront development permits, visit the Downtown South Bend (DTSB) website, or call them at (574-282-1110).

What is a Temporary Permit?

A Beer & wine temporary (special event) permit is required whenever beer and or wine will be served, dispensed or sold at a gathering of many persons in a location that does not have an alcoholic beverage permit attached to it.  Generally, this excludes small home parties.

For a catered event where the caterer has an ATC-issued caterer’s permit, the caterer obtains the permit for the event host.  This should be confirmed in advance with the caterer.  If an event is one where the host intends to serve alcoholic beverages through a licensed bartender or licensed server who does not have a caterer’s permit, then the event host must obtain a temporary permit.  A Temporary Permit is restricted to on-site consumption—no carry out; no carry in, and it is for beer and wine only.  It cannot be used for hard liquor beverages.  A person or place having a beverage caterer’s permit must be used if a special event is one where hard liquor is intended to be served, sold, or dispensed.  No alcoholic beverages may be served, sold, or dispensed at an event requiring a temporary permit by any person who does not have a valid bartender’s or server’s permit.

Fifteen days (15) before the scheduled event, the temporary event permit form must be fully completed and submitted to the excise police office for the district where the event will take place.  The excise police office for the district serving St. Joseph County is located at 52422 County Road 17, Bristol, Indiana; phone number 574-264-9480.  The form also requires approval by the South Bend Police Dept. Chief, located at 701 West South Sample Street, South Bend, Indiana before submission to the district excise police office.  The excise officer assigned to the South Bend area must sign and approve the application form after it is submitted.

Where are forms obtained for an Alcoholic Beverage Permit?

Application forms for Beer & wine temporary permits and all other type permits, including restaurants, package stores, grocery stores, bars, etc., are obtained through the ATC.  The forms can be found through visiting the ATC's Alcohol Beverage Applications & Forms website, or one can request a form by calling the ATC at 317-232-2430.

The additional application form required locally for a Beer, wine & liquor retailer - Riverfront permit can be obtained from DTSB's Riverfront Development website.


NOTE: Because the State of Indiana is the official agency that regulates alcoholic beverages, you should consult their website or contact their office for all such matters.  The information provided here is not a substitute for official State information.