2013 LETTER - click here
2012 LETTER - click here
2011 LETTER - click here
Q: How do I get a liquor license in New Mexico?
- New Mexico is a quota-based state for Dispenser type liquor licenses, and the Alcohol & Gaming Division has issued all liquor licenses allowed by law.
- Applicants can either lease or purchase dispenser type liquor licenses from current holders of these licenses.
Recent Liquor license sales click here.
Q: Does Alcohol & Gaming Division approve sale and lease of all liquor licenses?
- Yes. All applicants must submit an application for the approval of the sale or lease of Dispenser type liquor license. These applications are thoroughly reviewed by AGD and sent to the Local Option District for their approval. For AGD Forms & Applications, click here.
- The Alcohol & Gaming Division reserves the right to deny a sale or lease application if the safety and public health is threatened by issuance of such license.
Q: Do I have to submit my fingerprints when applying for a liquor license?
Because the Liquor Control Act does not allow for a convicted felon to own or be an officer on a liquor license this agency requires such persons to be fingerprinted to receive the background reports from the State and Federal level. Therefore the Federal Bureau of Investigation requires the following notice:
Applicant Notification and Record Challenge
Officials at the governmental institutions and other entities authorized to submit fingerprints and receive FBI identification records under this authority must notify the individuals fingerprinted that the fingerprints will be used to check the criminal history records of the FBI. The officials making the determination of suitability for licensing or employment shall provide the applicants the opportunity to complete, or challenge the accuracy of, the information contained in the FBI identification record. These officials also must advise the applicants that procedures for obtaining a change, correction, or updating of an FBI identification record are set forth in Title 28, C.F.R., § 16.34. Officials making such determinations should not deny the license or employment based on information in the record until the applicant has been afforded a reasonable time to correct or complete the record, or has declined to do so. (Title 42, U.S.C., §14616, Article IV (c); Title 28 C.F.R., § 50.12 (b))
Q: What types of citations may be issued to a liquor license?
- Citations can be either criminal, administrative or both for selling or serving alcoholic beverages to minors and intoxicated individuals.
- Criminal citations are issued law enforcement agents with the State Police Special Investigations Division.
- Selling or serving alcoholic beverages to a minor a second time is a fourth-degree felony.
- Administrative citations are processed by the Alcohol and Gaming Division. Violations of the Liquor Control Act may result in fines of up to $10,000, and/or the suspension or revocation of the license.
Q: Is it possible to receive a criminal citation and an administrative citation for the same act?
- Yes. Most violations of the Liquor Control Act are a crime as well as an administrative violation of the Act.
- For example, selling alcohol to minors is a crime by the individual making the sale as well as an administrative violation of the Liquor Control Act by the licensee and the server.
- The results of the criminal and the administrative processes may also be different – a licensee or a server may have charges dismissed in a criminal proceeding but be found guilty in an administrative hearing.
Q: Could a licensee be charged with an administrative violation of the Liquor Control Act based on the actions of an employee?
- Yes. Licensees are responsible for the operation of the liquor license including the acts of their employees.
- Licensees should train, supervise and monitor their employee’s activities and performance.
Q: What types of liquor licenses are allowed to do growlers of beer?
General License/Operation Questions
Q: May minors be employed to sell or serve alcoholic beverages?
Persons 19 and 20 years of age may only work in a restaurant environment and cannot be bartenders or cocktail servers. Only persons over 21 years of age may sell or serve alcohol in package stores, bars or lounges. A restaurant is an establishment whose primary activity is the sale of food and not the sale or consumption of alcohol.
Q: Is gambling permitted on a licensed premise?
No. Gambling is not permitted except as authorized under the Gaming Control Act – lottery tickets - and the Bingo & Raffle Act – certain non-profit clubs have pull-tabs and gaming machines that may only be played by members of the club.
Q: May a licensee allow pool playing or other games on the licensed premise?
- Yes. Games of skill such as pool and bowling are permitted.
- Participants CANNOT be charged an entry fee and cash prizes or other prizes of value may not be awarded.
- Spectators or participants may not gamble or bet on the outcome.
Q: What are the legal hours of operation during which alcohol can be sold, served or consumed on a licensed premise?
Weekdays & Saturdays:
- For a Restaurant Liquor License (beer & wine), the hours of operations are from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm or until meal service ceases – whichever is earlier – from Monday through Saturday.
- For all other license types, it’s from 7:00 am until midnight for package liquor sales and from 7:00 am until 2:00 am for on-premise consumption.
- For a Restaurant Liquor License, it’s noon until 11:00 pm or until meal service ceases - whichever is earlier, on Sundays in a local option district that has voted to allow Sunday Sales by the drink.
- For all other license types, legal hours of operation are from noon to midnight for both package liquor sales and on-premise consumption in local option districts that have voted to allow Sunday Sales.
- Licensees wishing to sell, serve or permit the consumption of alcoholic beverages on Sundays must have applied for and received the appropriate permit from the Alcohol and Gaming Division.
- Not all local option districts allow Sunday sales. Please contact the Division to see if the sale or service of alcohol on Sunday’s is permitted in your area.
Christmas Day Sales:
Holders of dispensers, restaurant, club and governmental licenses that have a current, valid food establishment permit may sell, serve or allow the consumption of alcohol by the drink on the licensed premise from noon until 10:00 pm or until meal service ceases - whichever is earlier - for Restaurant Liquor Licenses. When Christmas falls on a Sunday, sales are only permitted in those local option districts that have voted to allow Sunday Sales. There are no package sales allowed on Christmas Day.
What are acceptable forms of identification?
- Any current and valid ID card issued by a federal, state or municipal government that contains a picture of the person and a birth date showing that they are over 21 years of age.
- Some examples are a driver’s license, non-driver ID, military ID, or a passport.
May a licensee or a server serve alcoholic beverages to a person who is intoxicated?
No. It is a violation of the Liquor Control Act to sell or serve alcoholic beverages to a person who is obviously intoxicated if the server knew or should have known that the person was intoxicated.
How old must a person be to buy, possess or consume alcoholic beverages in New Mexico?
A person must be at least 21 years of age to buy, possess or consume alcoholic beverages. It is illegal for anyone to sell, give or procure alcohol to or for minors.