Shots & Ladders: The Game of Getting a Liquor License in Indy

It’s wacky and sometimes nonsensical. Let’s play!

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Over time this process has held up—or ushered in—The Sinking Ship in SoBro, Brothers on Broad Ripple Avenue, and Harry & Izzy’s, the downtown venture owned in part by Carl Brizzi, the former Marion County prosecutor.


 
1. SUCCESSFUL BACKGROUND CHECK
Pass Go. If you’re not a felon, you’ve aced the first requirement.

2. ELECTED OFFICiAL?
Back to Start. Indiana law prohibits cops or officials from owning an establishment that sells alcohol.

» UNLESS YOU’RE CARL BRIZZI!
The former Marion County prosecutor owns 10 percent of Harry & Izzy’s, a friendly exception made by the Indiana Attorney General.

3. NEW TO INDIANA?
Skip Turn. Residents must have lived here five years to own a liquor license.

4. HAVE CASH?
Move Forward 3 Spaces. The average cost of a three-way (beer, wine, and liquor) license in Marion County is between $35,000 and $50,000

» BUT TIMING IS EVERYTHING!
In 2011, due to rezoning and population increases seen in the 2010 census, the county auctioned off 93 new permits for a mere $1,000.

5. TEETOTALING NEIGHBORS COMPLAIN
Move Back 2 Spaces. Neighborhood objections to their licenses have plagued Brothers and The Sinking Ship

6. CONSTRUCTION DELAYS
Back to Start. Any license not used after 5 years becomes void

7. LICENSE SOLD FOR PROFIT
Pay a Fine. Only the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission will be making money on those, thank you very much.

8. YOU SERVE MINORS
Go to Jail. Although you might just get a slap on the wrist. The number of annual violations in the state is down 13 percent.

9. DISPLAY BOOZE-BRANDED DECOR
Draw a Chance Card. Technically, it’s unlawful for a bar to receive accessories or decorations from a liquor or beer manufac-turer. So why is Broad Ripple covered in them?

10. LICENSE RENEWAL APPROVED
Drink Up! You don’t have to deal with the ATC until next year when you owe your annual fee.

 

Illustration by Sara Gillingham

This article appeared in the January 2013 issue.


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