“Hiring Lauren to manage this process was one of the best decisions we made in getting our business off the ground.”
3815 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Ste. A
Westlake Village, CA
Our assignment was to assist Vom Fass, a worldwide franchise with over 250 stores in 11 countries, obtain liquor licensing for its premier California store. Client sells four specialty products for gourmets and epicures: oils, fruit vinegars, and imported and domestic wine and spirits. At Vom Fass stores, customers may sample any of the products in the store and choose from among dozens of designer bottles—in a range of sizes and shapes. Each bottle is then customized by hand with a personal message or description.
Each state in the U.S. has its own set of liquor laws. Client’s challenge was getting a unique business concept licensed for the first time in California. Some of the licensing issues were:
- It was to be a retail store with a tasting area not only for wine, but distilled spirits and would require two liquor licenses—one for the retail area and one for the tasting area—each within a defined space.
- Spirits would be dispensed from bulk containers and not original containers.
- State liquor law restricted size and quantities of tastes.
- The area already had too many liquor licenses and additional licenses had to be justified.
- the city required a Special Use Permit to sell alcohol.
- We worked with owners Eric Alcorn, Brad Selby and Michael Romance to obtain, in a timely manner, their liquor licenses, as well as their Special Use Permit from the city.
- We began with a feasibility study covering issues and obstacles in licensing.
- We oversaw a Special Use Permit application with the city, including liaison with planners on wording and later modification of conditions.
- We collaborated with a liquor license broker and escrow company on the license purchases/transfers.
- We managed the liquor license application, including gathering client data, completing forms, providing advice on store layout and signage to comply with state laws.
- We developed a customized Safe Alcohol Policy to reduce risk of liquor liability.
- We gave advice on pricing and promotions to ensure compliance with liquor laws, and provided referrals for California liquor wholesalers/importers.
Getting a liquor license is a complex and technical process. However, with our help, the process was easier and faster than it would have been otherwise. Client received their liquor licenses and conditional use permit in September 2010. Vom Fass Westlake was an asset to the community, offering a unique and exciting shopping and tasting experience for local gourmets and epicures. The partners eventually relocated their store to Ventura, where they continue to enjoy a successful operation.
What the Client Had to Say
“As novices to the liquor industry, we were challenged by the need to find and purchase the liquor licenses required of us for our business model, and daunted by the phalanx of state and local regulations that had to be addressed in order to actually put the licenses to use.
“Lauren helped us understand what had to be done and then seamlessly handled all aspects of the process while keeping us well-informed all along the way. We obtained our licenses in a timely manner for a reasonable price and were able to put them to use shortly after opening our store. Hiring Lauren to manage this process was one of the best decisions we made in getting our business off the ground.”