Guidance on Special Event Liquor Permits

April 21, 2022 / Comments (0)


From the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses:

April 21, 2022

With spring and summer outdoor events returning, the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses is providing guidance for anyone who might apply for a special event liquor permit.

Special event liquor permits are required when a public event requests donations or requires admission fees, and alcohol is sold or provided for free.

Qualifying organizations for permits only include:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Social, fraternal, patriotic, political, or athletic in nature (not organized for a monetary gain)
  • State agencies
  • The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board
  • An instrumentality of a municipality or country
  • A political candidate who has filed necessary reports and statements with the Colorado Secretary of State or the Denver Clerk and Recorder

Under state law, applications must be submitted at least 30 days before the event. There are no exceptions.

Be aware of some common mistakes that are made when applications are filed that can delay their approval. They include:

  • Inputting an email address incorrectly
  • Dates and times not being submitted as two digits (for example, 04/21/22)
  • A diagram must be outlined in red where liquor will be stored, sold, and consumed
  • Submitting a zone use permit application and not the actual zone use permit
  • Pictures of postings must be emailed to [email protected]
  • Application documents must be in the nonprofit’s name

Permits can be obtained online, and our webpage has detailed information about special event liquor permit applications, including online training videos to help avoid mistakes when applying.

Liquor permit applications for special events on public properties can begin with preliminary approval from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure or Denver Parks and Recreation. But an approved street occupancy permit or park permit must be uploaded before a special event liquor permit will be issued.

The Department of Excise and Licenses reminds all license applicants to follow closely the instructions for all documents that must be included in an application. The No. 1 reason license applications are not accepted and must be resubmitted is because there are missing required documents.

Please share this message with any other interested stakeholders and encourage them to sign up for the liquor informational bulletin for news and updates as they become available.

If you have questions or comments, email [email protected] or call 311.

Thank you,

Denver Department of Excise and Licenses

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