Dec 5, 2012 12:51 AM by Eric Ross

Booze battle: Licensing companies see spike in applications

You see liquor stores on virtually every street corner throughout Colorado Springs.

Now, more places selling booze could be on the way.

Liquor licensing companies are seeing an unusually high volume of people requesting licenses in the southern Colorado Region.

While the extra revenue can certainly boost the economy, not everyone is crying out for more booze.

"Because of the interest in craft beers, I think it's opening up a lot of new markets," Jim Little with Coaltrain Wine & Liquor said.

In three decades of business, Little has seen the industry change drastically.

"I think it's a lot harder businesses (to run) than it was 30 years ago when there were only maybe 30 choices of beer compared to a thousand now," he said.

While most retailers lost money during the recession, the booze business remained strong. Now, it's getting yet another push.

"It (the industry) started picking back up," Susan Schwall with Liquor Licensing Professionals LLC said.

Schwall adds that about 2 to 3 applications come across her desk every week, not just from stores, but locally owned restaurants and coffee shops.

"People like to have a glass of wine or some beer to compliment good food," she said.

One of the applications just approved came from Spice of Life coffee and restaurant owner Doug Lewis.

"It was a really good investment," he said. "Things have changed economically with what people do."

A few years ago, the idea of bringing liquor into a mom and pop shop wasn't a common practice.

It was just last year when Starbucks announced they were looking into selling alcohol.

But for those who have been in the booze business for years, Little isn't quite sure what to think of the "expanding" industry.

While questions over lost revenue linger, Little isn't worried just yet.

"What keeps us strong is the quality of what we put out," he said.

Obtaining a liquor license can cost between $3,000 and $6,000 depending upon which license you are hoping to obtain.

If you are unsure of licensing laws or the application process, it's recommended you work with a liquor attorney.



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