Changing locations? What you should know about transferring and storing your liquor stock.

When you want to change locations of your bar, restaurant, liquor store or the like, you must request permission from the SLA through a Petition to Remove. Licensees often make this decision when the lease on the current premises is set to expire and, for one reason or another, they will not renew it. It might also be the case that the licensee owns the property and wishes to sell it and buy a different building for the business.

In either scenario, it is pretty common that there will be a gap between the date the current lease expires and the lease at the new location begins. When this happens, you have to think about how you are going to move and store the existing alcohol stock. There are basically two options, depending on which of the two reasons above you have for moving:

1. You own the current premises and are purchasing a new location. In this case, the current premises are licensed and you wish to close the premises to prepare the new space and get ready for the move. You can put the license in safekeeping and continue to store the alcohol at the current premises while you get the new location ready. You should carefully secure the alcohol to avoid theft and contamination by fruit flies and the like. When the Petition to Remove is approved and the new license is issued, you can transport the alcohol in your own vehicle (registered to the licensee) with a copy of the active license in the vehicle to the new licensed premises.

2. You lease the current premises and the new lease at the new location does not begin right away. If you are lucky, your landlord may allow you to keep the alcohol on the premises until your new lease begins. In this situation, Option 1 applies, but you will probably want to get something in writing just in case. It is rare that the landlord will permit this because he will be looking to replace his tenant as quickly as possible, and as long as you occupy the space with the alcohol stock, he cannot allow anyone else access or begin renovations. More often than not, you are going to have to leave the premises at the end of your lease. You must store the alcohol stock in a licensed warehouse until the new license is issued for the new premises.

If you do not have a vehicle to transport the alcohol or if your license is not active at the time that it needs to be moved, you will need to use a licensed transporter/carrier to transfer the stock.

No matter what, planning ahead is critical if you want the transition to be as smooth as possible. Determine your options well in advance and make the necessary arrangement ahead of time.