Two weeks ago I sent in my paperwork to the PA Liquor Control Board for a brewery license. I thought I’d share a bit about the process for anyone thinking of setting up in PA, for anyone else this might be a bit dry.
The packet you download asks for a lot of information about your company structure, owners, board members, shares, any other businesses you own or have owned and strangely enough information about your landlord’s business as well. I guess there are some sort of anti-compete laws in PA. Also, there were some questions about whether I had previously been in law enforcement or bail collection though I don’t know why. If you are going to fill all of this out make sure you have an EIN number from the IRS for your corporation as well as a PA corporate number and a sales tax ID (the latter was easy to apply for online, I had the number in 4-5 days). I skipped over getting an unemployment ID number since I won’t have full time employees for a while, you may need that.
About a week or so later I got a call from the case manager assigned to me, he wanted to set up an on site inspection and interview. He asked me to bring more corporate information such as a copy of my lease, my PA articles of incorporation, a copy of any shares assigned, the minutes of the meeting setting up the company and assigning board members and information on how I was funding the brewery, like a bank statement.
It was a beautiful day so I ended up biking to the site on the day we were meeting. Even though I was early the investigator had already done his inspection of the site, I don’t know what he was looking for other than general suitability as a brewery. He reviewed what I brought then asked me a few questions such as whether I had been in law enforcement, whether I owned part of anything else to do with alcohol, and whether I had been convicted of any felonies (all no’s). He also asked me about the start up costs for the company, how much I planned to spend on equipment, fit-out and miscellaneous. Also of this he put on an affidavit and had me sign. On the whole he was a laid back guy and the process took less than 10 minutes.
When we were done he said I had “prior approval” which meant they would process things as much as they could now and then when I was done building and ready to open they would come do a final inspection and give me my license. I should be getting something in the mail to that effect in a month or two. It didn’t sound like this final inspection would be as intense as say the board of health or TTB so I am not super worried.
So to anyone planning on opening a brewery in PA, just keep your paperwork in order and you should be ok.