Beer, Wine and Spirits

Definition: Any fermented liquor, such as wine, beer, or distilled spirit, that contains ethyl alcohol, or ethanol (CH3CH2OH). Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches.

Distribution Method (Expand All | Collapse All)

You are selling your product at a farmers’ market


Licensing:

On site consumption:
If a winery, distillery or beer manufacturer would like to sell wine, liquor or beer for on site consumption in a confined fenced off area only, the farmers’ market must apply for a Special Events Permit from the local liquor licensing authority (normally the city or county clerk’s office).

  • Only a non-profit organization can obtain a special event permit
  • See Special Events Information publication from Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division, (303) 205-2300
  • $100 application fee for local licensing authority, plus $25/day for state
  • Minimum lead time of 90 days is typical for application processing
  • Only 10 days/year can be licensed
  • Age verification procedures must be in place
  • Must provide a detailed map of the event location with the application, detailing access control measures
  • Access to the premises must be restricted and defined to control the crowd and access by minors
  • All alcohol must be consumed on the premises; NO WINE “DOGGIE BAGS”

It is recommended that the winery, distillery or beer manufacturer selling alcohol for on site consumption apply for additional liability insurance, as the permittee will be held responsible for any violations of the liquor code.

Selling sealed containers from a booth for consumers to take home:
If selling wine or liquor from a booth, the winery or distillery must apply to the State Liquor Licensing Authority for an off-site manufacturer’s sales room permit (reg. 47-428). Beer cannot be sold from a booth.

  • Market must recruit a manufacturer (winery or distillery) to participate
  • Each winery/distillery applies separately to license their individual space
  • Booth location should remain the same every week, as the license is tied to specific location
  • Although license issued by the state, local liquor licensing authority must review and can reject the application
  • No fee to the winery/distillery
  • 10 business day minimum application lead time
  • You must provide the manufacturer applying for the liquor license with a letter of permission from the property owner, the market organizer and a map of the event
  • Winery/distillery responsible for age verification and access to alcohol
  • If no sampling is allowed, then less stringent access restrictions are needed
  • Only sealed containers can leave the premises

Manufacturer’s business insurance should provide product and liquor liability coverage. Ask for the farmers’ market to be named as additional insured.

If you would like to provide samples of your product, you must first determine if your governing municipality has zoning or other rules prohibiting open containers or alcohol consumption in the location of your market. If yes then wineries or distilleries will not be able to pour samples, but only sell sealed bottles. If no then wineries or distilleries can pour 1 oz. samples in addition to selling bottles. Once it is determined that you can provide samples, a site plan map describing the set-up at the marketplace is required.

If you are selling beer or spirits you have produced using unprocessed wheat, corn, oats, barley, rye you have purchased from a Colorado grower or from a wholesaler you will need a Commodity Handlers License from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. If you are selling wine or spirits using grapes or other unprocessed farm products, such as raw fruit, from another Colorado producer or from a wholesaler, you will also need a Farm Product Dealers License.

Colorado Department of Agriculture, Farm Products Program
2331 W. 31st. Ave
Denver, CO 80211
Phone: (303) 867-9213

Notification Requirement: Liquor Code Regulation 47-428 states “The applicant must send a copy of the application for the sales room concurrently to the state licensing authority and to the local licensing authority in the jurisdiction in which such sales room is proposed. All applications for sales rooms to be operated for no more than three (3) consecutive days shall be filed with both the local and state licensing authorities not less than ten (10) business days prior to the proposed opening date.”  The application, form DR 8057 is available here.

Labeling: Labeling for alcohol is a very complicated process. This is only a guide and you should consult your attorney and other sources when labeling your products.

All alcoholic beverage labels must have a statement on the brand label or separate front label, or on a back or side label, separate and apart from all other information, the following statement: GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems. For more details consult alcoholic beverage health warning statement.

In addition to the government warning, all labels must include the following:

Wine: For more detail consult labeling and advertising of wine. All wine labels must include the following:

  1. Brand name
  2. Class, type, or other designation
  3. Alcohol content
  4. On blends consisting of American and foreign wines, if any reference is made to the presence of foreign wine, the exact percentage by volume.
  5. Colorado law requires an appellation (identification of the source of origin for the grapes) on all grape wines, above and beyond federal labeling rules.
  6. There shall be stated on any label affixed to the container:
    • Name and address
    • Net contents. If the net content is a standard of fill other than an authorized metric standard of fill, the net contents statement shall appear on a label affixed to the front of the bottle.
    • There shall be stated on the brand label or on a back label a statement that the product contains FD&C Yellow No. 5, where that coloring material is used in a product bottled on or after October 6, 1984.
  7. Declaration of sulfites. There shall be stated on a front label, back label, strip label or neck label, the statement “Contains sulfites” or “Contains (a) sulfiting agent(s)” or a statement identifying the specific sulfiting agent where sulfur dioxide or a sulfiting agent is detected at a level of 10 or more parts per million, measured as total sulfur dioxide. The provisions of this paragraph shall apply to:
    • Any certificate of label approval issued on or after January 9, 1987;
    • Any wine bottled on or after July 9, 1987, regardless of the date of issuance of the certificate of label approval; and,
    • Any wine removed on or after January 9, 1988.

State Sales Tax Liability: State sales tax for liquor is 2.9% for all alcoholic beverages sold by a retailer. If you sell liquor by the bottle, can, or case, or by the drink you must obtain a state sales tax license.

Colorado liquor excise tax is paid by the manufacturer to the state Department of Revenue.  The tax must be paid “at first sale within Colorado,” which would normally be by a manufacturer to a consumer. The same is true for the Colorado winery tax and the grape tax.

  • 7.33¢ per liter for Vinous Liquor
  • Grape excise tax is due on all grapes of vinifera variety or other produce imported into or grown in Colorado, and used in the production of wine in this state by a licensed Colorado winery.
  • Grape excise tax rate is $10 per ton on and after July 1, 1996

Surcharge Rates: Colorado imposes a Vinous Surcharge and a Colorado Winery Surcharge to support the Colorado Wine Industry Development Fund. The Vinous Surcharge of one cent (1¢) per liter is due on all vinous liquors (wines) sold. Effective July 1, 2000, the one-cent (1¢) per liter continues to be due on all vinous liquors (wines) sold in Colorado, however, it will be known as a Wine Development Fee in Colorado through June 30, 2000.The Colorado Winery Surcharge is due on all vinous liquors produced by Colorado licensed wineries and sold, offered for sale or used in this state. Effective July 1, 1997, the tax amount will be determined using an annual graduated rate. The graduated rate shall be applicable for the 12-month period beginning on the first day of July each year. The graduated annual rate is 5 cents per liter for the first 9,000 liters, 3 cents per liter for the next 36,000 liters, and 1 cent per liter for all additional amounts. Filing Requirement: A “Monthly Report of Excise Tax for Alcohol Beverages” (DR 0442) along with supplemental schedules and payment of tax is to be filed on or before the 20th day of the month following the month in which such alcohol beverages are first sold in this state. Purchases of liquor and beer must be reported on the schedule entitled “Wholesalers Report of Liquor and Beer Purchases” (DR 0445). Wholesalers are not required to submit invoices. However, all records pertaining to the purchase of any and all alcohol beverages must be available upon request

Local and County Sales Tax Liability: The city and/or county where you sell your products will determine your tax rate.

Weights and Measures: Wine may be sold by standard sizes only. The standards of fill for wine are the following: 3 liters, 1.5 liters, 1 liter, 750 milliliters, 500 milliliters, 375 milliliters, 187 milliliters, 100 milliliters, 50 milliliters. Wine may be bottled or packed in containers of 4 liters or larger if the containers are filled and labeled in quantities of even liters (4 liters, 5 liters, 6 liters, etc.).

You are selling your product to a store, restaurant, food cart, hospital, or other retail food establishment


Licensing: There are two different licenses, one for manufacturing and one for wholesale. If you are both manufacturing and selling wholesale you will need both licenses. For all fee and application information: Colorado Liquor or 3.2% fermented malt beverage public transportation, wholesale, manufacturer, importer license application. Wholesalers and brewers should contact the Liquor Enforcement Division at (303) 205-2300 for additional information concerning licensing and fee requirements. In addition to a state license, federal law requires you to pay a special occupational tax before you begin business and by July 1 each year thereafter. An application for a wholesaler’s or brewer‘s permit is also required. Contact the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). You may also access their Web site at www.ttb.gov.
If you are manufacturing wine you can get a license for a winery (CRS 12-47-402) or as a limited winery (CRS 12-47-403). If you are a winery you will also need a federal license to manufacture. If you are a limited winery you are limited to making less than 100,000 gallons per year and must certify such to the state. A limited winery license is less expensive than a manufacturers license and a limited winery can self-distribute without getting a wholesaler’s license. Consult the application listed above for fees.

If you are selling beer or spirits you have produced using grain you have purchased from a Colorado grower or from a wholesaler you will need a Commodity Handlers License from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. For more information consult the Colorado Department of Agriculture website farm products section or contact them directly.

If you are selling wine or spirits using grapes or other unprocessed farm products from another Colorado producer or from a wholesaler, you will need a Farm Product Dealers License

Labeling: Labeling for alcohol is a very complicated process. This is only a guide and you should consult your attorney and other sources when labeling your products.

All alcoholic beverage labels must have a statement on the brand label or separate front label, or on a back or side label, separate and apart from all other information, the following statement: GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems. For more details consult alcoholic beverage health warning statement.

Please consult labeling section above for wine labeling regulations.

In addition to the government warning, all labels must include the following:

Spirits: For more detail consult labeling and advertising of distilled spirits . All distilled spirits labels must include the following:

  1. Brand name
  2. Class and type
  3. Alcoholic content
  4. In the case of distilled spirits packaged in containers for which no standard of fill, net contents.
  5. On the brand label or on a back label:
    1. Name and address
    2. In the case of imported spirits, the country of origin
    3. In the case of distilled spirits packaged in containers conforming to the standards of fill, net contents
    4. Coloring or flavoring
    5. A statement that the product contains FD&C Yellow No. 5, where that coloring material is used in a product bottled on or after October 6, 1984.
  6. Declaration of sulfites. There shall be stated, the statement “Contains sulfites” or “Contains (a) sulfiting agent(s)” or a statement identifying the specific sulfiting agent where sulfur dioxide or a sulfiting agent is detected at a level of 10 or more parts per million, measured as total sulfur dioxide. The sulfite declaration may appear on a strip label or neck label in lieu of appearing on the front or back label. The provisions of this paragraph shall apply to:
    1. Any certificate of label approval issued on or after January 9, 1987;
    2. Any distilled spirits bottled on or after July 9, 1987, regardless of the date of issuance of the certificate of label approval; and,
    3. Any distilled spirits removed on or after January 9, 1988.
  7. Percentage of neutral spirits and name of commodity from which distilled, or in the case of continuously distilled neutral spirits or gin, the name of the commodity only
  8. A statement of age or age and percentage, when required
  9. State of distillation of domestic types of whiskey and straight whiskey, except light whiskey and blends
    1. In the case of a container which has been excepted under the provisions of §5.46(d), the information required to appear on the “brand label,” as defined, may appear elsewhere on such container if it can be demonstrated that the container cannot reasonably be so designed that the required brand label can be properly affixed.

Beer and other malt beverages: For more detail consult labeling and advertising of malt beverages. All distilled malt beverage labels must include the following:

  1. Brand name
  2. Class
  3. Name and address (except when branded or burned in the container)
  4. Net contents (except when blown, branded, or burned, in the container)
  5. Alcohol content, for malt beverages that contain any alcohol derived from added flavors or other added non-beverage ingredients (other than hops extract) containing alcohol.
  6. On the brand label or on a separate label (back or front):
    1. In the case of imported malt beverages, name and address of importer
    2. In the case of malt beverages bottled or packed for the holder of a permit or a retailer, the name and address of the bottler or packer
    3. Alcoholic content, when required by State law
    4. A statement that the product contains FD&C Yellow No. 5, where that coloring material is used in a product bottled on or after October 6, 1984.
  7. Declaration of sulfites. The statement “Contains sulfites” or “Contains (a) sulfiting agent(s)” or a statement identifying the specific sulfiting agent where sulfur dioxide or a sulfiting agent is detected at a level of 10 or more parts per million, measured as total sulfur dioxide. The sulfite declaration may appear on a strip label or neck label in lieu of appearing on the front or back label. The provisions of this paragraph shall apply to:
    1. Any certificate of label approval issued on or after January 9, 1987;
    2. Any malt beverage bottled on or after July 9, 1987, regardless of the date of issuance of the certificate of label approval; and,
    3. Any malt beverage removed on or after January 9, 1988.
  8. Declaration of aspartame. The following statement, in capital letters, separate and apart from all other information, when the product contains aspartame in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations: “PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE.”

State Sales Tax Liability: Any business or organization that sells liquor or beer must collect Colorado sales tax.

Alcohol beverages shipped outside of Colorado by a licensed manufacturer or wholesaler are exempt from the state liquor excise tax. Colorado law requires wholesalers and manufacturers to keep accurate and complete records of purchases, sales, and transfer activities of alcohol beverages for a period of three years. State liquor excise taxes are as follows:

  • 8¢ per gallon for 3.2% Beer
  • 8¢ per gallon for Malt Liquor (beer) per gallon for Hard Cider (apple and pear only)
  • 7.33¢ per liter for Vinous Liquor
  • 60.26¢ per liter for Spirituous Liquor
  • Grape excise tax is due on all grapes of vinifera variety or other produce imported into or grown in Colorado, and used in the production of wine in this state by a licensed Colorado winery.
  • Grape excise tax rate is $10 per ton on and after July 1, 1996

Surcharge Rates: Colorado imposes a Vinous Surcharge and a Colorado Winery Surcharge to support the Colorado Wine Industry Development Fund. The Vinous Surcharge of one cent (1¢) per liter is due on all vinous liquors (wines) sold. Effective July 1, 2000, the one-cent (1¢) per liter continues to be due on all vinous liquors (wines) sold in Colorado, however, it will be known as a Wine Development Fee in Colorado through June 30, 2000.The Colorado Winery Surcharge is due on all vinous liquors produced by Colorado licensed wineries and sold, offered for sale or used in this state. Effective July 1, 1997, the tax amount will be determined using an annual graduated rate. The graduated rate shall be applicable for the 12-month period beginning on the first day of July each year. The graduated annual rate is 5 cents per liter for the first 9,000 liters, 3 cents per liter for the next 36,000 liters, and 1 cent per liter for all additional amounts. Filing Requirement: A “Monthly Report of Excise Tax for Alcohol Beverages” (DR 0442) along with supplemental schedules and payment of tax is to be filed on or before the 20th day of the month following the month in which such alcohol beverages are first sold in this state. Purchases of liquor and beer must be reported on the schedule entitled “Wholesalers Report of Liquor and Beer Purchases” (DR 0445). Wholesalers are not required to submit invoices. However, all records pertaining to the purchase of any and all alcohol beverages must be available upon request

Colorado Liquor Excise Tax Exemptions on Wine, Spirituous Liquor (Spirits) and Beer: Sales of wine and spirituous liquor to federally ceded property (e.g., military bases, National Park concessions) are exempt from state liquor excise tax. Sales of fermented malt liquor (3.2% beer) and malt liquor (beer) are state liquor excise tax. Alcohol beverages shipped outside of Colorado by a licensed manufacturer or wholesaler are exempt from the state liquor excise tax. Questions regarding liquor excise taxes should be referred to the Excise Tax Accounting Section at (303) 205-8211 extension 6848.

Local Sales Tax Liability: The city and/or county where you sell your products will determine your tax rate.

Weights and Measures: Consult weights and measures section above for wine regulations. The regulations for beer do not specify standard sizes, and the net contents are expressed in non-metric units. In general, distilled spirits must be packaged in one of the standard sizes — 50 mL, 100 mL, 200 mL, 375 mL, 750 mL, 1 L, and 1.75 L — except for cans, whose standard sizes are 50 mL, 100 mL, 200 mL, and 355 mL.

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