Ohio's Quota System and how it affects you
A liquor permit is needed before you can make, distribute, or sell alcoholic beverages to a distributor, retailer, or consumer. Regardless of the type of permit sought, an applicant must meet the applicable legal requirements for the applied for permit. An example of some of the requirements, particularly at the retail level, include having a food service license or being a qualifying business type like a hotel/motel or a fine arts museum.
Retail permits can allow for carryout sales only or also include on-premises consumption. Retail permits can be issued to locations like bars, restaurants, and carryout stores. Some retail permits are subject to a quota system. This means there are a limited number of permits that can be issued at any given time within a particular area. For explanation purposes, the two quota types are:
- Traditional quota (see R.C. 4303.29(B)); and
- Permit type-based quotas.
***This webpage is for illustration purposes only and should NOT be considered legal advice. There can be many factors and variables applicable to your situation that are not covered above. Because we cannot provide you legal advice, you should always consider consulting your own liquor attorney for personalized advice.***
The traditional quota consists of
- C-1 (carryout only beer sales until 1am);
- C-2 (carryout only wine/prepackaged mixed beverages sales until 1am);
- D-1 (carryout AND on-premises sales/consumption of beer until 1am);
- D-2 (carryout AND on-premises sales/consumption of wine and prepackaged mixed beverages until 1am);
- D-3 (on-premises sales/consumption of high-proof spirits until 1am);
- D-4 (on-premises sales/consumption to member only of beer, wine, prepackaged mixed beverages, and high-proof spirits until 1am); and
- D-5 (carryout AND on-premises sales/consumption of beer, wine, pre-mixed beverages and on-premises only for high-proof spirits until 2:30am)
The traditional quota, by law, allows a township, village, or city only so many liquor permits based upon its population or portion thereof. For example, if a city has a population of 10,000 people, then that city can have one C-1 permit for every 1,000 people meaning that under the traditional quota, the city could have up to eleven C-1 permits. Some things to know about the traditional quota are that:
- It is like taking a number at the deli counter. Each applicant is put in numerical order and only when a spot becomes available (i.e., your number is called) are we able to proceed with reviewing your application.
- It is fluid. First, the total number of available permits can change each year based upon yearly population figures. Second, how many permits are available for possible issuance changes daily because new applications are filed and issued permits may not get renewed or cancelled.
- We cannot change the total number of permits that are available within your locality as that ratio is set by law.
- Each year, we update a locality’s population based upon figures we receive from Ohio’s Department of Development.
- Permit availability is tied to a particular locality. As such, if your city, for example, has no C-1 permits available, but the city next door has five C-1 permits available within its quota, we cannot move one of those available permits over to your city where none are available (i.e., it’s not like carrying the remainder when doing division).
- There is an option, when certain rules are met, to move an issued permit from one locality to another when the location where the permit will move to is over its quota for that type of permit. This is called TREX’ing a permit. For more about what a TREX is and how it works read our "What It Means to TREX a Permit" outline.
Quota reports and how to read the reports
The quota reports below are in alphabetical order by county, updated WEEKLY. As such, please keep in mind that the number of issued and available permits can change DAILY. So use of these reports is helpful, but may not reflect the quota at the very moment we receive your application.
Once you open a report you can scroll through the report for your county and municipal corporation or township (you can also use "crtl f" and type in the municipal corporation or township and hit enter).
- Counties 01-Adams County through 29-Greene County
- Counties 30-Guernsey County through 58-Morgan County
- Counties 59-Morrow County through 88-Wyandot County
To better assist you, here is a listing of the pertinent report headers and what they mean:
In the above illustration, the colors and headers mean the following:
|RED||N/A||the municipality, remember each municipality (i.e., township, village, and city) has its own quota|
|BLUE||N/A||the population for the applicable city, township, or village|
|PURPLE||Class||type of Permit|
|BLACK||Permit Quota||the number of permits allowable based on the population|
|ORANGE||Permits Issued||the number of permits already issued|
|PINK||Permits Available||the number of permits still available under the quota (allowed - issued)|
|LIGHT BLUE||Applications on File||the number of applications on file for the respective permit class|
Indicates whether the applied for location is known to either be wet or dry for Monday through Saturday liquor sales.
If it’s BLANK, the status is not known until an application is filed and a response is received from the county board of elections that gives us information so we can determine the wet/dry status.
NOTE: Whether sales are allowed on Sundays are NOT reflected in this chart.
Here is how you read the quota reports:
- In the first example above, there is one C-1 permit allowed, none are currently issued and no one has currently applied for that permit meaning that if you applied for a C-1 permit we would immediately start reviewing that application for possible issuance. You can also see that our information is telling us that Rome is known to be WET for both carryout beer and wine Monday through Saturday, but is known to be DRY for on-premises for everything else. As such, if you applied for a D-1 in Rome, while you'd have an opening, we would NOT be able to process your application because the whole city is DRY. You'd need a vote to get this area or your location wet, which you read more about HERE.
- In the second example below, up to ten C-1 permits can be issued. Nine are currently issued with two applications on file. This means that of those two applications, the first one is pending review while the second one is in what is called “no opening.” This second applicant’s file will not be processed until one of the nine issued permits is either no longer issued or the pending applicant before it is either rejected or canceled. Again, this information is also telling me that this location is known to be WET for carryout beer sales Monday through Saturday. Remember, if it's blank (neither "wet" or "dry" is listed, then we do NOT know the status until after you file an application and we get information from the county board of elections.
Quota Based Upon Permit Type
The retail permits that are subject to the permit type-based quota are the:
- Can only be issued within a community entertainment district (CED)
- Can only be issued within a revitalization district
- Issued to shopping malls
- Resort areas
The D-5J and D-5L quota are tied to the acreage size of the applicable district. One permit is allowed for every five acres, however, no more than fifteen D-5J or L permits, as relevant, can be issued regardless of the district’s size. For instance, if a city creates a CED and that district is fifty acres in size, then the most D-5J permits that can issued within that particular CED is ten. Likewise, if the CED was one-hundred acres in size, the most D-5J permits that could be issued is fifteen. You SHOULD check with your applicable city/township/village before applying to make sure that your location is within the CED/RD and what the name of it is. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The D-5B quota is detailed in R.C. 4303.181(B).
The D-7 quota is defined in Ohio Administrative Code 4301:1-1-76.
What to expect if you apply
If there is a permit available, your application will be processed for possible issuance. If there are no permits available, on the application we ask you about this scenario and if you want to:
- CANCEL the application and refund permit fees,
- RETAIN the application on the wait list and refund the permit fees, or
- RETAIN the application and RETAIN the permit fees until there is a permit available.
We will process the application based upon how you answer the question above.
In addition to quota, your location may also be subject to local option election laws. Local option election laws can impact whether your location is dry for the type of sales requested. While some precincts around Ohio are known to be dry for sales, in most cases an applicant's wet/dry status is applicant and location specific. This means that until you apply we will not know if your location is dry or wet because we get information from the county board of elections after you apply as to the location’s ward and precinct history, which can change over time. Thus, it is quite possible for a liquor permit to be issued at X location and just across the street be dry for the same type of sales or for a permit to have been issued at X location but two years later a different applicant be told the location is dry.
Above all, liquor permitting can be complex and answers often vary dependent upon specific sets of facts. While we are willing to assist where it can, we cannot aide in business planning nor offer legal advice. As a result, we recommend that you contact a private attorney who can give you the personalized legal / business planning advice you may need when starting or expanding your existing business / exploring your liquor options.