Application Process & Obtaining a License The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) makes every attempt to process applications for licenses and permits in a timely manner. Due to the high number of applications being received, we ask that you apply at least 45 days in advance of your event. In addition, your application should be approved by the local authority and forwarded to ABD at least 15 days prior to the effective date. Missing information and errors may delay the application process, and may then delay the license or permit to be issued by the requested effective date. Please note that selling alcohol without a license or permit is a violation of the law. Iowa law requires all alcoholic beverages retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, importers and brokers to apply for and obtain a license or permit before doing business in the state. The licensing process for Iowa liquor license and beer, spirits, and wine permit holders is entirely online. Licensing Laws & Requirements Just starting your business? Visit the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR) website (External link, opens in a new window). If your business sells food on-site or to go, visit IDR (External link, opens in a new window) to learn which foods are taxable and which are exempt.