Fermented Malt Beverage License

On Premises

A fermented malt beverage license to dispense fermented malt beer by the drink for consumption ON the premises at this location.

Off Premises

A fermented malt beverage license to sell fermented malt beer by the package in sealed containers for consumption OFF the premises at this location.

How to Submit an Application

There are several ways to submit a new or renewal application to the Department of Excise and Licenses. If renewing, include your business file number.

  1. All license applications not available online can be submitted by email to EXLSubmit@denvergov.org. When applying, attach all documents to one email. Visit the email application process page for more information.
  2. You can mail your application with fees to:

City and County of Denver
Department of Excise and Licenses
201 W. Colfax Ave., Dept. 206
Denver, CO 80202

Make checks payable to: Manager of Finance

3. You can pay fees online or by phone after the application has been submitted. You will receive an invoice and you can pay virtually. Visit the online payment process page for more information.

For questions, email licenses@denvergov.org or call 311.

How to Get a Fermented Malt Beverage License

Step 1: Zone use permit

A zone use permit is required before submitting a liquor application.

A zone use permit grants the applicant/owner of a lot, building, or structure permission for the requested use of the land. "Use" can be defined as any activity, occupation, business or operation transacted in a building or on a lot/tract of land.

Use internet resources to plan =before you lease or buy property and before you apply for a business license.  Follow the steps below to learn more about the approved zone uses for the address for your business.  Start on the  find your zoning page.

  1. Enter the desired address.  Click Search.
  2. Note the zone district.
  3. Click on the + to expand for more information. 
  4. Note the neighborhood context.
  5. Click on the link for the zoning code or in former chapter 59.
  6. Click on the article number for the neighborhood context noted above.
  7. Open the document and scroll to the "Use" tables at the bottom of the document.
  8. Find the "Use" category in the left column and the zone district in the columns to the right.
  9. The code in the intersecting square represents the permitted use.  (There is a key to the codes at the top of every page.)

The zone use permit must be approved and issued by the zoning department.  Learn more about the Denver Zoning Code or visit the Zoning Office.

Applying for a zone use permit



Zoning contact information

Step 2: Distance restriction

A 500-foot distance restriction from public and parochial schools, colleges, universities, seminaries and retail liquor stores applies to new fermented malt beverage applications. 


Step 3: Required documents

Application forms and business entity documents are required. All documents must be submitted in duplicate – one for the City and County of Denver and the original for the State of Colorado. Documents must be printed in black ink or typewritten. Photocopies are accepted.

 All documents should be submitted to the Department of Excise and Licenses.

 Application documents

  • Make sure no staples are in the documents.
  • Colorado Fermented Malt Beverage License Application(PDF, 388KB)  (The Colorado application also serves as the City and County of Denver's application)
  • Tax Check Authorization, Waiver, and Request to Release Information(PDF, 105KB)
  • City tax license
  • State tax license
  • Right of possession documents (lease or deed). The lease must be valid for at least 90 days from the date the application is submitted.
  • Occupancy permit that can be obtained from the Denver Fire Department
  • The floor plan drawing is to be on paper that is 8 1/2 by 11 inches with dimensions included. The diagram does not have to be to scale, but must accurately reflect the area to be licensed, including depictions of the following:
    • Exterior areas showing control of the licensed premises (fences, walls, doors, gates, etc.)
    • A diagram for each floor plan, outlined in red to show the boundary (including external and internal walls, doors, fences, gates, and the like). The diagram must identify the kitchen area if the applicant is applying for a hotel and restaurant class liquor license.  The kitchen diagram must include the range, refrigerator, sinks, dishwashers, and other industrial equipment.
    • Location of the proposed licensed premises designating where alcohol will be sold, served, stored, distributed or consumed
    • One diagram must have the licensed liquor area outlined in red.
    • One diagram must have the licensed liquor area outline in black.
  • If the building does not exist at the time the license is applied for, the applicant must submit an architect's drawing
  • A list of equipment if the applicant is applying for a tavern class liquor license and the proposed premises does not have a kitchen area
  • Individual History Form(PDF, 155KB) (required for each owner that owns 10% or more of the business) 
  • Cabaret License Application(PDF, 198KB) if any form of entertainment is being offered. 

Fingerprints for the following:

Additional documentation by form of business entity

Corporate applicants

  • Articles of incorporation
  • A current certificate of good standing
  • A certificate of authorization (if applicant is a foreign corporation)
  • A list of all officers and directors and members and stockholders of the parent corporation who own 10% or more of the applicant's entity.  (The list must designate one person as the "principal officer")
  • A trade name certificate, if applicable
  • Current corporate minutes authorizing application for a liquor and/or cabaret license

 Limited liability company applicants

  • Articles of organization
  • A current certificate of good standing
  • Operating agreement
  • A certificate of authority (if the applicant is a foreign company)
  • A trade name certificate, if applicable
  • Identification of its licensed premises manager

Sole proprietorship applicants

  • Trade name affidavit, if applicable


Step 4: Fees

Application Fee:

State - $1,100 made payable to the Colorado Department of Revenue plus liquor license fees

State - $1,200 for concurrent review plus liquor license fees

State - $1,100 for transfer of ownership plus liquor license fees

City -   $1,000 plus other fees assigned at time of application

Colorado Bureau of Investigation fingerprinting:  $38.50 per person for anyone that owns at least 10% of the business entity.

License fees will be calculated at the time the application is submitted to the City.


Step 5: Public hearing

  • A public hearing is scheduled when all other requirements are complete
  • An area is designated around the proposed location where residents and business owners/managers can sign petitions and testify
  • A sign is posted at the premises of the proposed liquor license for at least 20 days before the hearing
  • The posting sign must follow these guidelines:
    • Be white, sturdy, and measure 22 inches wide by 26 inches high with letters not less than 1 inch high
    • Show the type of license, the date and time of the hearing, the name, and address of the licensee and any partners or officers of the licensee
    • Be posted in a conspicuous place so it is visible and legible
    • Contain a map of the designated area
    • Contents to be included on the posting sign will be established by the Department of Excise and Licenses.
  • Registered neighborhood organizations, newspapers, the City Council and the police district are notified of the application and public hearing
  • Petitions are circulated in support and against the proposed liquor license.  Read more about petitions(PDF, 54KB).  
  • Public hearing is held
  • Final decision is issued by the director of Excise and Licenses


Read more about public hearings


Step 6: Required inspections

  • Development services (720) 913-1311
  • Denver Fire Department (720) 913-3409
  • Department of Public Health and Environment (720) 913-1311
  • Department of Excise and Licenses (720) 913-1311 (Last inspection - Schedule when all other inspections have been passed.)


Step 7: Get your license

Notify the Department of Excise and Licenses, at licenses@denvergov.org, that you would like your license emailed to you when all of the steps below have been completed.  

  1. All required documents are complete and submitted to the office.
  2. The background check, if applicable, is accepted and approved.
  3. Fees are paid.
  4. All required inspections, if applicable, are passed.
  5. All approvals are given by the state and local offices.

You should stay in touch with the Department of Excise and Licenses during the application process as each step can vary from the general steps described herein depending on your particular circumstances.






Renew a Fermented Malt Beverage License

Renew your license

The Colorado State Liquor and Tobacco Enforcement Division will send the applicant a renewal application.

The application must be submitted to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses no later than 45 days before an expiration date. 

 All documents submitted for renewal, including Colorado State applications, must be submitted to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. 

 No documents should be sent to the Colorado state offices.


Required documents

  • Retail Liquor or Fermented Malt Beverage License Renewal Application(PDF, 252KB) received from the Colorado State Liquor and Tobacco Enforcement Division.  
  • Right of possession documents (lease or deed). The lease must be valid for at least 90 days from the date the application is submitted.
  • If the renewal applicant is a corporation, a current certificate of good standing must accompany the renewal application. Any changes in corporate structure must be noted.  Supporting documents must be provided.
  • If you have a current 3.2 beer license, you need to complete the form and the Retail 3.2 Selection Form(PDF, 124KB). This needs to be submitted with the renewal form. More information about this change is below.

New law mandates certain changes to the type of liquor license your establishment currently holds. This law is in regard to retail 3.2 beer on/off premises licenses (FMB On-Off), retail 3.2 beer on-premises license (FMB On), and retail 3.2 beer off-premises license (FMB Off).

No more issuance or renewals of FMB On/Off licenses as of June 4, 2018:

● No new or renewed retail FMB on-off licenses will be issued by the local or state licensing authorities.

● Upon their annual renewal, an existing FMB on-off licensee must convert to an FMB on or FMB off.

● To facilitate this request, the licensee must submit along with their renewal application a written notification to their local licensing authority and state licensing authority.

● If you have recently submitted a renewal application, the state licensing authority or local licensing authority will be in contact so you can communicate your preference in writing.

● When you receive renewal paperwork from the state licensing authority 90 days before license expiration, this letter will accompany your renewal paperwork reminding you of this change.

● Submit your renewal application to your local licensing authority. Notify it in writing of your selected licensing preference.

Your license will not be renewed until this information is conveyed to your local licensing authority.


Late renewals

Licenses must be renewed on or before the expiration date to avoid penalty fees.

90-day grace period

There is a 90-day grace period from the expiration date during which licenses can be renewed for a penalty fee.

Late application fee:  $500 made payable to the Manager of Finance

After 90 days:  A new license application is required.


Renewal policies

Department of Excise and Licenses inspectors will attempt to locate and notify business license holders of the approaching expiration date.  But failure of an inspector to notify a delinquent licensee that its license has expired does not excuse the licensee from any applicable late penalty.