Special Event Liquor Permit

Special event liquor permits the sale by the drink only of Malt, Vinous and Spirituous liquor,  or fermented malt beverages (3.2 Beer) , on premises that do not hold a liquor license or is to be sold by a qualifying organization or club or arts liquor licensed premises.

Qualifying organizations inlcude

  • Non profit organizations
  • Social, fraternal, patriotic, political or athletic in nature (not organized for a monetary gain)
  • Political candidate who has filed necessary reports and statements with the Colorado Secretary of State or the Denver Clerk and Recorder

How to Apply for a Special Event Liquor Permit

By way of example, special event liquor permits are required when a qualifying organization or political candidate:

  • Has an event and wants to sell alcohol beverages
  • Has an event that is open to the public and alcohol beverages are available
  • Has an event where there is a cash bar
  • Has a public event where donations are requested
  • Has a public event where admission fees are required
  • Sandwiches or food snacks must be available at all times that alcohol beverages are being sold.
  • A special event permit may not be issued to the same applicant for more than fifteen  (15) days in any one calendar year.

The application process includes the following steps:

  • Applications for special event permits must be submitted at least thirty (30) days before the date of a desired event.
  • Preliminary review
  • Posting and submittal of written objections
  • Public Hearing
  • Issuance of recommended/final decision

Duplicate documentsApplication forms and business entity documents are required for the applications process.  All documents must be submitted in duplicate – one copy for the City of Denver and the original copy for the State of Colorado.  Documents must be printed in black ink or typewritten.  Photocopies are accepted.

All documents are submitted to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses in duplicate.

  • Special Event Liquor Application  
  • Right of Possession Document (Lease or Deed or sub-lease or assignment of the lease or rental agreement)  
  • Diagram of premises that depicts the bar and alcohol service areas 
  • A certificate of good standing from the Colorado Secretary of State within the past year, a nonprofit charter, or copies of reports and statements filed with the Colorado Secretary of State if a political candidate
  • Sales tax license



Local Fees:

Malt (Beer), Vinous, and Spirituous:  $25.00 per day

3.2% Beer:  $10.00 per day

Local license fee: $100.00


Local Fees:  Made payable to the Manager of Finance 

  • The Department will review application forms and accompanying documents for accuracy and completeness. 
  • The Department will determine if the premises is already licensed and, if so, whether any exclusions apply.
The Department of Excise and Licenses will be the final approver for all Special Event Liquor Permits,  We no longer send to the State for their approval.
  • As a holder of the permit, the special event licensee must purchase liquor to be served and/or sold at the event only from a licensed wholesaler or a licensed retail liquor store.
  • A special event permit is authorized only for the benefit of the non-profit organization or political candidate who holds the permit.  Proceeds from the event must benefit the non-profit organization or the political candidate.
  • Holders of a special event permit may also employ event managers to handle the event for a fee that reasonably compensates their work.  The "fee" of an event manager may not be the revenues from the event.
  • The Director may require examination of the books and records of a special event permittee to ensure compliance with permit obligations.


State Statutes

Colorado StatuesColorado Liquor
and Beer Laws


CRS 12-48-101


Plan Extra Time!

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Inspections and paperwork can take longer than you expect.  Plan extra time to get your license.