The Nebraska Liquor Control Act authorizes the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission (commission) to issue special designated licenses (SDL’s) for the sale or consumption of alcoholic liquor at designated locations.  In order to better manage such special events, the Nebraska Association of County Officials, the League of Nebraska Municipalities, and the Nebraska Beer Wholesalers Association have prepared this information sheet for use by local officials and applicants for SDL’s.



What is the role of the local governing body in issuance of an SDL?


All applications for an event inside the corporate limits of a city or village must have the approval of the city council or village board.  The county board must approve an application for an event outside the corporate limits of a city or village.


The local governing body may establish criteria for approving or denying an SDL.


The local governing body may designate an agent to determine for the governing body whether an SDL is to be approved or denied.  The agent must follow the criteria established by the governing body.


If the commission grants an SDL, the license is mailed or delivered to the appropriate municipal or county clerk.  The clerk delivers the license to the licensee upon receipt of any fee or tax imposed by the city, village, or county.



Who may apply for an SDL?


       A holder of a retail liquor license

       A holder of a craft brewery license

       A municipal corporation

       A fine arts museum incorporated as a nonprofit corporation

       A religious nonprofit corporation which has been exempted from the payment of federal income taxes

       A political organization which has been exempted from the payment of federal income taxes

       Any other nonprofit corporation the purpose of which is fraternal, charitable, or public service and which has been exempted from the payment of federal income taxes



For how many days can an SDL be obtained?


Holders of a catering license have no limit on the number of days.


For all others, the limit is six calendar days per calendar year.  Only one SDL is required for an event that covers two or more consecutive days, but each day counts against the limit of six.



What is the cost of an SDL?


For holders of a catering license, no fee is charged.


For all other applicants, the state fee is $40 for each day of the event (which the commission deposits in the state’s general fund).  There may also be local fees.



Who can obtain a catering license, what is the cost, and what are the advantages?


The holder of a Class C, D, D-1, or I liquor license or a craft brewery license may obtain an annual catering license from the commission.  The cost is a $75 fee, which is paid to the commission, plus any applicable local occupation tax, which cannot exceed double the license fee.  (NOTE:  Starting May 1, 2005, the holder of any retail liquor license or a craft brewery license will be able to obtain a catering license and the fee will be $100.)


A catering license allows the liquor retailer or craft brewery to have an unlimited number of SDL’s each year for the one license fee.  The license grants no additional rights or privileges.  Any time such a licensee caters an event off premises at an unlicensed location, it must obtain a separate SDL for that event.



Where can an application for an SDL be obtained?


The forms for both an SDL and a catering license are available from the commission.  The phone number is 402-471-2571.  The forms can also be printed from the commission’s web site www.lcc.ne.gov.



When must an application for an SDL be filed with the commission?


For applicants that do not hold a retail liquor license or craft brewery license and that are requesting a waiver or modification of any conditions, the application (with local approval and the fee) must be received by the commission at least 30 calendar days prior to the event.


All other applications (with local approval and the fee) must be received by the commission at least 10 working days prior to the event.



When must an SDL application be filed with the local governing body?


State law requires the holder of a catering license to file an application at least 21 days prior to the event.  There are no stated requirements for applicants that do not hold a catering license.  Local governing bodies may choose to establish filing deadlines.


In order to ensure sufficient time for local action so that an application can be filed with the commission on time, applicants should contact the city, village, or county clerk to find out whether there are local filing deadlines, whether the governing body has designated an agent to act for it, and (if not) when regular meetings of the local governing body occur.  If the governing body has not designated an agent to act for it, applications need to be submitted in sufficient time to be placed on the governing body’s meeting agenda.


Applications filed with the commission must be accompanied by a statement from the local police chief or county sheriff that local law enforcement has been informed in advance of the event and whether they are aware of any reason the event should not occur.  Applicants should contact the law enforcement office in sufficient time to obtain this statement.



What other requirements apply?


Applicants must provide a written showing of the estimated size of the crowd and how the applicant intends to assure that alcohol will not be served to minors and intoxicated persons.


Events held by an applicant that does not hold a retail or catering license are subject to some special conditions, including those listed below.  The applicant can apply for waiver or modification of these conditions.

       If the event is expected to attract more than 150 people:

       If unaccompanied minors are expected, attendees must be checked for age, adults must be identified with wrist bands that are destroyed by removal, and alcoholic drinks must be served in distinctively different containers than those for non-alcoholic drinks.

       Except for sit-down dinners, there must be one dedicated security person for every 200 persons in attendance.

       For outdoors events adjoining areas accessible to non-attendees, the licensed area must either have a solid wall or chain link fence at least six feet high or two rows of fence four feet apart with clear space in-between.  The fencing can be plastic or wood snow fence or the equivalent.

       The event supervisor or his or her designated replacement must be in the licensed area at all times alcohol is being served and during the clean-up period.

       All workers (paid and volunteer) must refrain from consuming alcohol during the event and during the clean-up.



What exemptions from the liquor laws and the commission’s rules are available?


Applicants for SDL’s are exempt from the requirement to pay a state registration fee and from the requirement that 45 days expire after the time the commission receives the application before issuance of the SDL (if it is granted by the commission).


With the consent of the local governing body and the commission, exemptions can be made from any liquor law or commission rule, except those that pertain to minors and persons who are mentally incompetent.


For example, SDL’s can be issued within 150 feet of a school or church.  They can be issued for public property.  Hours of sale could be extended beyond 1:00 a.m.


Even the security and fencing requirements mentioned above can be waived if the applicant can demonstrate that, based on the circumstances or on positive experiences in conducting such events in the past, the extra protections are unnecessary.


If the applicant is purchasing liquor from a licensed wholesaler and the applicant wants to return what is not sold after the event, the applicant must request permission for this on the application form.



May games of chance be conducted during a special designated event?


Yes if they are approved by the Charitable Gaming Division of the Department of Revenue.  For more information on the requirements for games of chance, contact the department at 1-877-564-1315 or consult the department’s web site at www.revenue.state.ne.us