Colorado’s liquor laws change frequently — for instance, you may have noticed that full-strength beer is now sold in your local supermarket. How can consumers and current or prospective business owners learn about the state’s liquor laws and make sure they are in compliance? The Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) has numerous helpful resources on its Liquor and Tobacco Enforcement website. Here you can find fact sheets and an online course detailing the 2018 law changes; a database of Colorado liquor licenses; information on how to apply for a license or permit; and much more.
DOR’s Enforcement Division tracks data on Colorado liquor licenses and violations. They issue an annual list of violations, which you can find online via our library back to 2005. Information for 2018 has recently been released. The lists are issued in two parts – state violation summaries divided by month, and local violations listed by city/town. (Colorado is a dual licensing state, which means that both state and local licensing authorities can issue, deny, suspend, or revoke licenses, or collect fines). You can use these lists to search for your favorite establishment and learn whether they have had any violations. Sales to minors is by far the most common violation, but others include gambling, “permitting indecent display or activity,” “failure to furnish or maintain books & records,” underage employees, unlawful use of license, “sale to visibly intoxicated person,” etc. The Division also maintains an Underage Drinking Enforcement Website, which includes searchable databases of records for minors in possession and business compliance checks. You can also use the site to submit an anonymous tip.
Additional helpful resources available from our library include:
- Colorado Laws Regulating Alcoholic Beverages
- Retail Licensee Handbook
- Street Officer’s Guide to Liquor Enforcement in Colorado
Since the laws do change frequently, be sure to cross-check any information in these resources with current statute.