New Liquor License Classes Open Innovative Retail Options

New Liquor License Classes Open Innovative Retail Options

Northbrook businesses and groups will be able to include alcohol service in a variety of new settings, thanks to a number of new liquor license classifications adopted by the Village Board of Trustees. New categories have been created to cover “sip and shop” events, limited beer and wine service in retail or personal care service businesses, tasting rooms in craft distilleries and breweries, and an updated classification for special events by non-profit and for-profit entities.

The Board’s action responds to suggestions from the business community. The ordinance explicitly states that the goal is to “promote economic development and community-based events and activities while establishing specific limitations and controls over the operation of these events.”

The new ordinance creates the following license categories:
Class N — a license held by a non-profit, unit of local government, or school that authorizes service of wine, beer, or spirits as part of its events. This would include occasions where a merchants’ association welcomes guests to enjoy a drink while visiting neighboring stores and businesses (hence the term “sip and shop”). The ordinance sets a variety of requirements regarding entrance fees, use of tickets or punch cards to monitor consumption, control of the event premises, and food service.

Class O — a license designed to help retailers give customers a unique personal experience by allowing for service incidental to a purchase. For example, a jeweler would be able to offer a champagne toast to a couple buying an engagement ring.
“This was an opportunity several of our retail partners have hoped for,” notes Brian Lee, General Manager of Northbrook Court. “It’s a practice commonly expected in luxury retail around the country. We are happy our retail partners will be able to offer this to customers to make shopping at Northbrook Court an outstanding experience.”

Class P — a category allowing craft distilleries and breweries/brewpubs to run tasting rooms to support their retail operations. The tasting room model was recently raised before the Board of Trustees in a preliminary proposal by Almighty Spirits, a local distiller of artisanal liquors. (See the Chamber’s June Newsletter for details.) The license limits the size and quantity of free samples, and allows for the sale of drinks so long as food service is also available.

Class Q — a special event license, available to both non-profit and for-profit organizations. This license will cover Northbrook Days and similar limited-time events.