How do you renew an alcohol license

Serving alcohol in the café - These conditions apply

Would you like to offer your guests alcoholic beverages in your café? Then you need a restaurant license, commonly known as a liquor license or restaurant license. In this article you will find the requirements you have to meet, the costs you have to pay and the deadlines you have to meet.

You only want to apply for a one-time serving license for an event in your café and not serve alcohol permanently? Here's how to get a one-time liquor license.

Applying for a restaurant license: requirements and documents

One thing in advance: The catering law in Germany is subject to the respective national law. This means that there are sometimes different regulations regarding the serving of alcohol in the individual federal states. There are some federal states in which the permit requirement has been abolished and replaced by a notification requirement.

As the restaurant license person and space related is issued, you have to meet certain requirements and obtain certificates before you can apply for them.

In addition to the completed application for the liquor license and your identity card, you will need:

Professional qualification

Your professional suitability will be checked using the following documents:

  • Certificate of instruction from the IHK have the necessary knowledge of food law. Note that in a partnership, all managing partners are required to take part in this course. In the case of legal entities (UG, GmbH), the authorization requirements lie with the authorized representatives, i.e. the management or the board of directors. The lessons usually cost between 60 and 80 euros.
  • Certificate of Initial instruction on protection against infectionfrom the health department. This must not be older than three months when the application is submitted.

Personal reliability

In addition to the professional aptitude, you have to submit some certificates to the licensing authority that concern you as a trader:

  • official certificate of good conduct: You can now apply for this via the online portal of the Federal Office of Justice. Alternatively, you can register with your local authority and request your certificate of good conduct there.
  • abstract Central trade register: You can also request this document online from the Federal Office of Justice or apply for it locally in your municipality.
  • certificate in tax matters: This clearance certificate is issued by your responsible tax office. You can usually find the necessary form on the website of your municipality or city, e.g. here for Munich or here for Berlin. Note that this will cost around 10-20 euros.

Object-related requirement

The liquor license is issued on a specific object. That's why you need yours Rental / lease agreement Submit (the excerpt from the land register for your own premises) The rooms have to go through a Building permit to operate a restaurant be admitted.

If you want to open a second location serving alcohol, you must also explicitly apply for a second liquor license for this location.

Licensing costs

The costs for the actual liquor license (without costs for certificates etc.) initially depend on the fee structure of the respective federal state or municipality. In federal states without a permit (see below), these costs are of course not applicable. In addition, the costs vary depending on the size of the rooms (number of square meters) and the type of operation.

For a small café, the fees should be pretty limited. In general, the budget is sometimes below 100 euros to over 3,000 euros called. The latter applies above all to larger rooms and locations in which high alcohol consumption is expected, e.g. bars or clubs / discos.


Very important: Your restaurant permit must have been issued before the start of operations. Even if you have already submitted your application and you are fairly certain that you will get the license, you are not allowed to serve alcohol without the bill in hand. Otherwise you face fines and probably the denial of the liquor license.

You know, the mills in German authorities grind slowly. Submit your application with all certificates and documents at least four weeks before the start of operations a.

Federal states without a restaurant permit

In Germany, catering law is a matter for the federal states, so more liberal regulations apply in the following federal states (status 11/2020). There, the licensing requirement for serving alcohol was abolished and replaced by a notification requirement. You have to do this anyway when you register your business.

  • Brandenburg
  • Hesse
  • Lower Saxony
  • Saarland
  • Saxony
  • Saxony-Anhalt
  • Thuringia

If you open your café in these federal states and want to serve alcohol, the course on food law knowledge (as listed above) is not necessary for you. Likewise the above-mentioned costs for the actual license.

The authorities will still check your reliability as a trader. In the above-mentioned federal states, you must also present a police clearance certificate and the extract from the central trade register.

Apply for a one-time liquor license

You don't want to serve alcohol all the time but, for example, once a year at the "café birthday"? Then you can temporary catering permit apply for. This is associated with far less effort than the general restaurant permit described above. The costs for this should be in the range of 20 - a few hundred euros, depending on the size of the location and event.

You submit the application for the one-time liquor license to the responsible regulatory office in your community. There you will also need a brief description of the event, when it starts and ends and what food and drinks will be offered.

It is best to plan a 2 - 3 week lead time for this.

Feel free to write me your experiences in the comments!