Mission Statement

    The mission of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is to administer the provisions of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act in a manner that fosters and protects the health, safety, welfare, and economic well being of the people of the State.


    In cooperation with local communities, we will meet our licensing, enforcement and regulatory mandates with honesty, impartiality, and the highest degree of concern for the people of the State.


    Through our commitment to serving the people of California and one another,we will become the recognized leader in effective and efficient licensing and law enforcement, and a model of excellence in government.


    Upon the repeal of prohibition in 1933 and the return of the legal sale of alcoholic beverages to California, taxation and regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages were given to the State Board of Equalization. In 1955, an amendment to the State Constitution became effective removing the duty of regulating the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages from the State Board of Equalization and placing it in the new Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.


    The Department's workload is divided into three elements: administration,licensing, and compliance. The Department's Headquarters in Sacramento consists of the Director's office and other offices performing licensing, fiscal management, legal, business practices, training, and personnel/labor relations and other administrative support functions for the Department.

    Agents and/or Licensing Representatives investigate applications for licenses to sell alcoholic beverages and report on the moral character and fitness of applicants and the suitability of premises where sales are to be conducted. Less complex license applications are reviewed and processed by non-sworn Licensing Representatives. These reports are reviewed at the District Office and are forwarded to Headquarters in Sacramento for further review and processing. If the license is denied, or if its issuance is protested, the applicant is entitled to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. After hearing the evidence, the Administrative Law Judge makes a proposed decision which is reviewed by the Legal Section of the Department and acted upon by the Director.

    ABC Agents are peace officers under Section 830.2 of the California Penal Code and are empowered to investigate and make arrests for violations of the Business and Professions Code that occur on or about licensed premises. Agents are further empowered to enforce any penal provisions of the law any place in the State. Licensees who violate State laws or local ordinances are subject to disciplinary action and may have their licenses suspended or revoked. These licensees are entitled to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge and an appellate process to the State Supreme Court.