Food Wholesale

Food wholesale shall mean any establishment engaged in the business of selling at wholesale, processing, storing, handling or packaging of food intended for human consumption.

 Depending upon how the food is packaged or prepared, there are 4 classes of wholesale food licenses:

  • Packaged, bottled and canned
  • Produce, bulk and unpackaged food, processed pre-packaged meats and dairy products 
  • Fresh meats and fish, food processing and cooking (Caterers) 
  • Fresh milk and dairy products

Denver Food License Information(PDF, 309KB)

Commissary List(PDF, 95KB)

 

How to Submit an Application 

There are a variety of ways that you can submit your New or Renewal application to the Department of Excise and Licenses. If renewing, please make sure to include your Business File Number (BFN) with the submittal.

  1. In an effort to protect public safety, in-person customer service at Excise and Licenses is being offered by appointment only. Please visit our appointments website to make an appointment. 
  2. All license applications not available online can be submitted via email, EXLSubmit@denvergov.org, during this health crisis. When submitting your email application, please attach all documents pertaining to your license application to ONE email. Please visit our email application process page for more information on submitting email applications.
  3. You may also mail in your application with fees to:

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

Make checks payable to: Manager of Finance

You may also pay for your applications online or via phone once you have submitted your application to Excise and Licenses. We will send you an invoice and you may pay virtually. Please visit our online payment process page for more information on how to submit payment for your applications.

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

How to Get a New Business License

Step 1: Zoning Use Permit

A Zone Use Permit is required before obtaining an Food Wholesale License. If you are using a commissary, a Zone Use Permit is not required.

A use permit is a document granting 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.

You can use the resources on the Internet to plan ahead before you lease or buy property and before you apply for your business license.  Follow the steps below to learn more about the approved zone uses for the address where you want to locate 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 # 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.)

Ultimately, the zone use permit for your business license 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

Email

zoning.review@denvergov.org

Zoning Contact Information

Step 2: Required Documents


Note: If using a commissary kitchen, it must be located within 50 miles of the City and County of Denver. 

 

Step 3: Fees

Application Fee:  

$125.00 - 1 to 9 employees

$150.00 - 10 to 29 employees

$175.00 - 30 or more employees

 

The  license fees for the Food - Wholesale Licenses are dependent upon the class of the license.

  • Packaged, bottled and canned foods
    • $140.00 - 1 to 9 employees
    • $220.00 - 10 - 29 employees
    • $330.00 - 30 or more employees

 

  • Produce, bulk and unpackaged food, processed pre-packaged meats and dairy products
    • $195.00 - 1 to 9 employees
    • $295.00 - 10 - 29 employees
    • $445.00 - 30 or more employees

 

  • Fresh meats and fish, food processing and cooking (Caterers) 
    • $235.00 - 1 to 9 employees
    • $345.00 - 10 - 29 employees
    • $515.00 - 30 or more employees

 

  • Fresh milk and dairy products 
    • $260.00 - 1 to 9 employees
    • $400.00 - 10 - 29 employees
    • $600.00 - 30 or more employees

  

Fees can be paid with cash, check, money order or credit card. Checks should be made payable to Manager of Finance. Credit card payments are only accepted in person.

 

 

Step 4: Required Inspections

Once you have submitted all of the proper paperwork, (see required documents) and paid your fees, you will be issued an inspection notice. The following agencies will be required to electronically approve your inspection.

  • Denver Fire Department (720) 913-3409
  • Department of Public Health and Environment (720) 865-5401
  • Development Services (720) 865-2630  You will receive an automated message requesting information about your inspection. If you would like to speak with a representative, please call 720-865-2505, option 6

Please note: Inspections are not required for caterers applying for Fresh meats and fish, food processing cooking class of Food - Wholesale License and they are using a commissary.

 

Step 5: 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. Be sure to include your Business File Number (BFN), name of your company and address of your business when emailing this request.

  1. All documents required for the license are complete and submitted to the office.
  2. The background check, if applicable, is accepted and approved.
  3. Fees are paid in full.
  4. All required inspections, if applicable, are passed.

 

Renew a Business License

Required Documents

A completed and approved Affidavit of Commissary(PDF, 208KB) is required if you process and/or cook in a commercial kitchen. (Needed by caterers only for Fresh meats and fish, food processing cooking class of Food - Wholesale License). If it is a brick and mortar business, this is not required.

 

Renewal Fees

The  license fees for the Food - Wholesale Licenses are dependent upon the class of the license.

  • Packaged, bottled and canned foods
    • $140.00 - 1 to 9 employees
    • $220.00 - 10 - 29 employees
    • $330.00 - 30 or more employees

 

  • Produce, bulk and unpackaged food, processed pre-packaged meats and dairy products
    • $195.00 - 1 to 9 employees
    • $295.00 - 10 - 29 employees
    • $445.00 - 30 or more employees

 

  • Fresh meats and fish, food processing and cooking (Caterers) 
    • $235.00 - 1 to 9 employees
    • $345.00 - 10 - 29 employees
    • $515.00 - 30 or more employees

 

  • Fresh milk and dairy products 
    • $260.00 - 1 to 9 employees
    • $400.00 - 10 - 29 employees
    • $600.00 - 30 or more employees

 

Fees can be paid with cash, check, money order or credit card. Checks should be made payable to Manager of Finance. Credit card payments are only accepted in person.

 

 

 

 

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 by paying the license fee and the penalty fee. However, if a license is not renewed before the expiration date, they must cease operations until the license has been renewed during this grace period.

First 30 days of grace period:  20% penalty fee

Days 31 - 90:  50% penalty fee

After 90 days:  Licensees will be required to apply for a new license

 

Renewal Policies

Department of Excise and Licenses will attempt to notify business license holders, at the email provided at time of application by business owner, of the approaching expiration date. However, failure of an email to notify a delinquent licensee that its license has expired does not excuse the licensee from any applicable late penalty.