If you've ever been on a trip and found an excellent local establishment to have a drink and relax, you've probably ended up having an in-depth conversation with the bartender. That happened to me recently on a trip to Saratoga, WY.

I was talking to the bartender, who also owned the establishment I was at, and we got on the topic of expanding his bar and possibly opening another bar. The problem was, he said, there weren't enough liquor licenses available right now, and he would have to wait until the right one became available.

I had no clue the liquor license topic would end up being an hour-long conversation.

There's no lack of places to grab a cocktail or a beer in Wyoming; research shows that Wyoming has 3.4 bars for every 10,000 people. That means about 161 bars in Wyoming (give or take a few). Every establishment that serves alcohol has to have a state-issued liquor license.

The Massive Number Of Wyoming Liquor Licenses Is Interesting
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This is the part that starts to get confusing.

Does that mean a restaurant that serves alcohol is considered a bar? How about the local golf course or hotel? Are they bars? Can they sell beer to drink off-site? What if they're a brewery or winery?

The simple answer is No.

The more complicated answer is that every establishment that serves alcohol isn't considered a bar; they fall into different categories. Each of those categories has additional licenses and different sets of rules.

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When it comes down to it,  there are thirteen annual alcohol licenses and permit categories and three 24-hour permits issued by local authorities: five licenses and permits and one 24-hour permit issued by the state's liquor division.

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13 Wyoming liquor licenses & permits issued by local authorities.

  • Retail License: Allows the sale of alcohol that can be consumed onsite, off-site, or both. Only a certain amount is available, depending on the population.
  • Restaurant License: Can serve alcohol to patrons seated only in the dining area and not in a specific place. Alcohol sales can't be more than 40% of gross sales.
  • Bar & Grill License: Can serve alcohol to patrons not seated in the dining area but must have a restaurant.
  • Resort License: Can sell alcohol for consumption on the resort premises. It has to have a building valued at least $1 million, a 100-seat convention facility, and a minimum of 100 hotel rooms. Package sales are not available.
  • Limited Club License: Allows golf, social, veterans, or other organizations to sell alcohol for consumption on premises. No Package sales
  • County Retail Malt Beverage Permit: You can buy and drink malt beverages onsite or take them.
  • University of Wyoming Malt Beverage Permit: Allows the UW to sell kegged malt beverages only in the student union on campus.
  • Special Malt Beverage Permit: An individual or organization can sell malt beverages at an indoor event.
  • Malt Beverage On Rodeo Grounds Permit: Malt beverages can be sold at rodeo events with at least 7,500 seats. You can only drink on-site with no package sales.
  • Microbrewery Permit: Permits the sale of malt beverages onsite or off-site, with stipulations attached to the amount sold off-site. *Can be combined with
  • Winery Permit: With stipulations attached, you can make and sell wine to sell onsite or off-site.
  • Satellite Winery Permit: Winery permit holder can sell their wine at up to three locations in Wyoming.
  • Satellite Manufacturer Permit: Can sell the product at one satellite location in Wyoming.

Locally Distributed 24-Hour Permits

  • Catering Permit: Retail or resort permit holders can sell off-site for consumption.
  • 24-Hour Malt Beverage Permit: Allows the sale of malt beverages at an event or gathering.
  • Manufacturer Off-Site Permit: Allows distilleries to sell their product at meetings, conventions, parties, or dinners to promote their product.

State-Level Licences and Permits

  • Limited Transportation License: Allows charter transportation, trains, or limos to sell alcohol or malt beverages.
  • Wholesale Licenses - Malt Beverages: Gives breweries the ability to sell their products wholesale.
  • Manufacturer/ Rectifier/ Importer License: Allows for the manufacture/rectification or importation of alcoholic liquors.
  • Industry Representative License: You can promote the supplier's product if you work or are contracted by a distillery or winery.
  • Out-of-State Shipper's License: Allows manufacturers, wholesalers, importers, or retailers to send up to 36 liters of wine to your house.

State-Level One-Day Permit

  • Limited Transportation License: 24-hour permit to sell alcohol or malt beverages on a train, bus, or limo.

As you can see, getting those liquor licenses in Wyoming is quite an extensive system and process. If you've been thinking about opening a bar or restaurant or even having an event where you want to sell alcohol, ensuring you get the proper permits and the process started is essential.

This link to the Department of Revenue Liquor Division will help you get the process started.

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