Regulations around Liquor Licensing
Rochester Code of Ordinances Chapter 5-19 outlines the City's rules and requirements around liquor licensing.
The City of Rochester operates within the framework of state law. Minnesota Statutes Chapter 340A governs Liquor in the state. City regulations can be more restrictive than state law.
Licensees must meet the requirements of both city ordinance and state law.
Applying for a License
NEW THIS YEAR: You can apply online using the Online Portal through Accela Citizen Access (ACA)
Visit: https://aca.rochestermn.gov/citizenaccess/ to access the portal directly
Instructions for using Citizen Access to Apply online
If you do not already have a Citizen Access account in Accela, your first step is registering for a public user account. This video provides a tutorial to walk through registering for an account.
Application Forms and Supplements
On-Sale Intoxicating Liquor License Application
On-Sale Wine-Beer License Application
Brewer or Brew Pub License Application - On-Sale or Off-Sale
Off-Sale Intoxicating Liquor License Application
Off-Sale 3.2 Malt Liquor License Application - Full packet
On-Sale Temporary Liquor Application
Liquor Application Verification and Acceptance of Responsibility - required with online applications
On Sale License Types
Exclusive Liquor Store
Also referred to as a "Street Bar License," these on-sale licenses are for exclusive liquor stores to sell alcoholic beverages at retail to the public for consumption only on the licensed premises.
Intoxicating Liquor/Restaurant & Hotel
Authorizes a hotel or restaurant to sell alcoholic beverages at retail to the public for consumption only on the licensed premises. Under City ordinances and state law, a restaurant must have meals regularly prepared on the premises, served at table to the general public, with a seating capacity to serve meals to not less than 15 guests at one time.
Authorizes a club which has been in existence for at least three years to sell alcoholic beverages at retail for consumption only on the licensed premises to its members and to bona fide guests in the company of members. A club is defined as an incorporated organization organized under the laws of the state meeting the requirements outlined in RCO 5-19
- Also requires submission of State Application to City of Rochester
Wine and Beer - On-Sale
A wine license authorizes a restaurant having a minimum level of seating for at least 25 guests at one time to sell wine up to 14 percent alcohol content by volume at retail for consumption only on the licensed premises in conjunction with the sale of food. Wine licenses include authorization for Sunday sales.
A restaurant holding both a wine license and a 3.2 percent malt liquor/on-sale license may also serve intoxicating malt liquor (aka strong beer) so long as the restaurant's gross receipts are at least 60 percent attributable to the sale of food, and the licensee has proof of financial responsibility as required by Minnesota Statutes Section 340A.409.
It is also possible to obtain a 3.2 percent malt liquor/On-Sale license by itself, allowing for on premise sales and consumption of 3.2 percent malt liquor.
Bottle Club Permit (a.k.a. Consumption and Display Permit)
On-Sale License Endorsements
Applicants for on-sale intoxicating liquor licenses other than wine licenses can also apply for a Special Sunday license, if their application meets the requirements of state law and City ordinance. The City application should indicate the applicant is also applying for a Sunday license. Licensees holding a wine/on-sale license do not need to obtain an additional Special Sunday endorsement, as a wine license already allows for sales on Sunday.
Under state law, a restaurant, club, bowling center, or hotel with a seating capacity of at least 30 persons with an intoxicating liquor license may obtain a Sunday license. City ordinance indicates an intoxicating liquor/on-sale exclusive liquor store may be deemed a restaurant for purposes of a special Sunday license even though a principal part of its business is not serving food provided it has appropriate facilities for serving the minimum number of guests required.
Applicants for any on-sale alcoholic beverage licenses can also apply for a dance license, if their application meets the requirements of state law and City ordinance. The City application should indicate the applicant is also applying for a dance license. Dancing shall be permitted only on licensed premises for which a dancing license has been granted.
Applicants for on-sale liquor licenses (intoxicating liquor or 3.2 percent malt liquor) can also apply for an optional 2 a.m. license, if the application meets the requirements of state law and City ordinance. The City application should indicate the applicant is also applying for this license. In addition, the state application form must be completed and submitted with the City application.
Off Sale Applications
Authorizes an exclusive liquor store to sell alcoholic beverages at retail in original packages to the public for consumption off the licensed premises only. The City of Rochester is limited to 26 off-sale liquor licenses, and all 26 licenses are currently active.
3.2 percent Malt Liquor (Beer)
1-4 Day Temporary Liquor On-Sale Permit
Additional required State Application
3.2 percent Malt Liquor/On-Sale Temporary
Temporary One-Day Consumption and Display Permit
Additional required State Application
Intoxicating Liquor/ On-Sale County Fair
Other License Types
Caterer's Permits are issued directly by the State of Minnesota. Holders of on-sale intoxicating liquor licenses may apply for a caterer's permit with the State that will be auxiliary to the primary on-sale permit held by the licensee.
Any on-sale intoxicating liquor licensee holding a caterer's permit must notify the City Clerk and Police Chief of any catered event at least 7 days in advance of any event taking place within the City limits.
Materials required with Applications
All applications require completion of the Retailer's (Buyer's) Card Application, to be submitted with a $20 check directly to the State of Minnesota. The Buyer's Card can be submitted two weeks prior to approval of the license by the City Council.
Business plans are required to be submitted with all applications. The Business Plan Requirements form must be completed, with the acknowledgement and agreement signed, and submitted with any supporting documents as part of your application for a liquor license. If you are applying for an on-sale exclusive liquor license (street bar), or any on-sale license along with either an extended hours license or a dance permit, you also need to complete the top portion of the Police Department Security Plan Review form.
A packet of information about Business Plan requirements, including the required forms, and additional guidance on what should be included in your business plan to address security and noise management plans is available.
All licenses require proof of Workers' Compensation coverage in compliance with Minnesota state law. In addition, proof of financial responsibility must be established in the manner provided by Minn. Stat. 340A.409. Most often, this requirement is met by providing liquor liability insurance. A liability insurance certificate must be provided with your application for the full term of the license period.
|License Type||Investigation Fee||Annual License Fee|
|On Sale Intoxicating Liquor - Exclusive Liquor||$200/$300/$500|| $3,200 +
$1,600 for each separate room
or lounge area
|On Sale Intoxicating Liquor - Restaurants, Hotels||$200/$300/$500||
|On Sale Intoxicating Liquor - Club||$200/$300/$500||based on membership|
|3.2 percent Malt Liquor On-Sale||-||$300|
|Brewer Taproom - On-Sale||-||$300|
|Brew Pub - On-Sale||-||$300|
|Bottle Club Permit (Consumption & Display Permit)||-||$150|
|Special Sunday License||-||$200|
|2 a.m. License||-||(only state fee)|
|Off-Sale Intoxicating Liquor||$200/$300/$500||$400|
|3.2 percent Malt Liquor Off-Sale||-||$36|
|Small Brewer Off-Sale||-||$36|
|Brew Pub Off-Sale||-||$36|
|Temporary On-Sale Intoxicating Liquor||-||$50|
|Temporary On-Sale 3.2 percent Malt Liquor||-||$30|
|One Day Consumption and Display||-||$25|
Frequently Asked Questions about Liquor Licensing
Can wine be removed from a restaurant with a wine license?
Under Minn. Stat. 340A.404 Subd. 11, a person purchasing a full bottle of wine in conjunction with a meal from a restaurant licensed to sell intoxicating liquor or wine may take the bottle from the licensed premises, provided the bottle has been opened and the contents partially consumed.
How long does it take to approve a new license application?
Once an application is submitted, it must be thoroughly reviewed, including receiving sign off and approvals by multiple City departments. This can take a period of several weeks at times. It is important for applicants to work closely with the City Clerk's Office to ensure reasonable expectations are in place around when a license can be issued.