ABOUT THE DIVISION OF LIQUOR CONTROL
Every state in the country has an alcohol beverage control agency that regulates the manufacturing, wholesale
distribution and retail sale of alcoholic beverages. There are no unrestricted free markets for alcohol sales
in any state.
In Ohio, the Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control is responsible for controlling the manufacture,
distribution, licensing, regulation, and merchandising of beer, wine, mixed beverages, and spirituous liquor as the
law is outlined in the Ohio Revised Code Chapters 4301. and 4303.
The Division of Liquor Control regulatory function is based in our permitting process. Annual licensing is required
for businesses that provide alcoholic beverages for consumption as a manufacturer, distributor or retailer, and in
some cases an event promoter. In some cases, the numbers of permits issued (also known as licenses) are limited by
quota based on the population of the area. In all cases, local community input is encouraged and considered during
permitting and renewal of permits.
The Division works with local law enforcement and the Department of Public Safety Investigative Unit to ensure
compliance with Ohio law.
The Division manages wholesale and retail operations with the goal of increasing profits without encouraging increased
consumption. Profits from spirits provide dedicated funding for Ohio’s economic development efforts.
The Division, on behalf of the non-profit JobsOhio, is the sole purchaser and distributor of spirituous liquor
(intoxicating liquor containing more than 21% alcohol by volume) in Ohio. The Division selects and prices the products,
and supplies them to “authorized agents” at no charge. Authorized agents are private businesses which own and operate
retail outlets selling other goods and services to the public, such as beer, wine and low proof spirituous liquor,
bread, milk, and other grocery items. The agents contract to sell the spirituous liquor products for commission
based on sales.
There are currently about 450 liquor agencies throughout the state.