Alhambra, CA asked in Business Law and Gov & Administrative Law for California

Q: It is legal to sell my personal wine and whisky collection in my own liquor in California with a valid liquor license?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, it is generally not legal to sell your personal wine and whisky collection in your own liquor store, even if you have a valid liquor license. This is because of several factors:

1. Personal collection: Your personal alcohol collection is considered private property and not intended for resale. Liquor licenses are granted for the sale of alcohol purchased from licensed distributors, not for the sale of personal collections.

2. Tied-house laws: California has strict "tied-house" laws that prohibit alcohol manufacturers, distributors, and retailers from having financial ties or ownership interests in each other. Selling your personal collection in your own store could be viewed as a violation of these laws.

3. Source of alcohol: Liquor stores in California must purchase their inventory from licensed distributors. Selling alcohol from your personal collection would violate the regulations set by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

4. Taxation and record-keeping: Alcohol sales are subject to taxes and require detailed record-keeping. Selling your personal collection would complicate compliance with these requirements.

However, there are some exceptions and alternatives:

1. Auction houses: You may be able to sell your personal collection through licensed auction houses that specialize in alcohol sales.

2. Private sales: You can sell your personal collection to other private individuals, subject to certain restrictions on quantity and frequency.

3. Consignment: Some licensed retailers may accept your personal collection on consignment, selling it on your behalf. However, this arrangement must comply with ABC regulations.

It is essential to consult with an attorney specializing in alcohol beverage law to ensure compliance with California's complex regulations surrounding the sale and distribution of alcohol. Violating these laws can result in criminal penalties, fines, and the loss of your liquor license.

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