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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)

Commissary List (PDF)

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. 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.

Excise and Licenses will not offer fingerprinting services on site. This website offers information on fingerprinting services authorized by Colorado Applicant Background Services.

How to Get a New Business License

A Zone Use Permit is required before obtaining a Food - Wholesale License. 

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

 

Office Hours and Location

General Hours:  8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Webb Municipal Office Building

201 W. Colfax Avenue, 2nd Floor


Phone

All City Services:  (720) 913-1311

General:  (720) 865-3000

 

Email

zoning.review@denvergov.org

 

  • Business Questionnaire
  • Zoning Use Permit (Not needed by caterers applying for Fresh meats and fish, food processing cooking class of Food - Wholesale License and they are using a commissary)
  • Affidavit of Lawful Presence (if business is an individual or sole proprietor)
  • Valid State or Federally Issued ID
  • Right of Possession Documents (Lease or Deed). The lease must be valid for at least 90 days from the date the application is submitted. (Not needed by caterers applying for Fresh meats and fish, food processing cooking class of Food - Wholesale License and they are using a commissary)
  • Affidavit of Commissary (Needed by caterers applying for Fresh meats and fish, food processing cooking class of Food - Wholesale License and they are using a commissary)


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

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. 

Once you have come into our office with 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.

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 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

A completed and approved Affidavit of Commissary 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.

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

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.

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

 

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

 
More Information

Municipal Code

Denver Revised Municipal Code

Definition 23-2 (17) 

Requirements 23-30

Fees 32-75

Plan Extra Time!

Inspections and paperwork can take longer than you expect.  Plan extra time to get your license.

Compliments or Complaints?

If you have a complaint, compliment or concern about a business operating in Denver, please complete the Business License Compliment/Complaint Form and return it to our Department.  We will investigate any complaint regarding the business licenses that we issue for the City and County of Denver.

Download compliment/complaint form (PDF)