Beverage Operator's License

License Fee
There are three types of Beverage Operator's Licenses - see the chart below for details.  License fees are non-refundable and due at the time of application filing.

Type Fee Conditions
2-Year $50.00 Background check conducted by the Police Department.
Approval by the Common Council - 2nd Thursday each month (deadline 15 days prior).
Completion of the "Responsible Beverage Server" Course Required (unless exempt, see #5 below).
60-Day Provisional $15.00 Background check conducted by the Police Department.
Must also apply for 2-year license; this license serves as a provisional until such time as Council approves the 2-year.
Limit of one license per license year.
14-Day Temporary $20.00 Issued only to beverage operators employed by, or donating services to, non-profit corporations.
Background check conducted by the Police Department.
Limit of one license per calendar year.

Fees can be paid by cash, check payable to City Treasurer or credit with a convenience fee.

Additional Information

  1. When is a beverage operator’s license required?
    Any person 18 years of age or older who is serving, selling or dispensing alcohol beverages must obtain an operator’s license, unless under the immediate supervision of a person with an operator’s license or agent of the licensed establishment. “Immediate supervision” means the operator or agent must be able to, at all times, see and hear the activities of those persons serving alcohol beverages.
  2. Is the license good anywhere in the State of Wisconsin?
    No; only in the city limits of La Crosse.  Each municipality licenses separately.
  3. When is a beverage operator’s license likely to be denied by the Police Department?
    Subject to Wisconsin’s Fair Employment Act, the applicant may not have been convicted of a felony, which substantially relates to the alcohol beverage licensing activity, or be a “habitual law offender.”  If any delinquent or outstanding fine/fees/charges are due the City, there will be a hold placed on the license until proof of payment is presented.
  4. What are some training options?
    "Legal/Responsible Beverage Server Course” online courses approved by the Department of Revenue.
  5. Do I have to take the training?
    Yes, unless you: (1) have taken the training within the last two years, (2) have held a beverage operator’s license from any municipality in Wisconsin within the last two years, (3) have been an agent on a retail license within the last two years or (4) are applying for a 14-day temporary beverage operator’s license.
  6. May I work once the license fee is paid?
    If with another licensed operator or the agent, yes. If working alone, no. A receipt is not a license.
  7. When will a license be mailed to me?
    Following Council approval on the second Thursday of the month, the license will be mailed. If applying for the 60-day provisional license, following approved background and delinquency checks (typically 4-5 working days).
  8. What steps are necessary to obtain a license?
    1. Complete the "Responsible Beverage Server" course and print certificate, if necessary (see #5 above).
    2. Apply in person and pay fee at City Clerk’s Office, 400 La Crosse Street (2nd floor of City Hall).  Bring training certificate of completion and valid identification. 

Pursuant to Resolution 17-1333, click HERE to view the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s handout titled Engaging Bystanders to Prevent Sexual Violence as sexual violence prevention is a relevant local concern.

For more information, contact the City Clerk's Office at (608) 789-7510.