City to Distribute Liquor Licenses Using New Sealed Bid Process

Sioux Falls, South Dakota: The City of Sioux Falls will soon distribute liquor licenses using the newly approved sealed bid process, which allows applicants to submit sealed bids and liquor licenses to then be awarded to the highest bidder(s). Ten off-sale liquor licenses and seven on-sale liquor licenses will be available for bid later this month.

“The sealed bid process puts the power back into the hands of the bidder instead of relying on a lottery system of chance,” said Sioux Falls City Attorney Dave Pfeifle. “This system allows everyone an opportunity to bid and best determines the true value of the liquor licenses, which are assets to the City.”

The bid period for both off-sale and on-sale liquor licenses opens Monday, August 7, 2023, at 8 a.m. and will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 23, 2023. Sealed bids for both licenses must be submitted in person to the City Licensing Specialist or designee at City Hall (224 West Ninth Street) during normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a $100 application fee for both types of liquor licenses. All sealed bids will be time stamped as they are received, which serves as the basis for determining order of tie bids.

An off-sale liquor license is needed to sell any alcoholic beverage for consumption off the premises where sold, like gas stations and liquor stores. The minimum bid for the off-sale license is $500. An on-sale liquor license is needed to sell any alcoholic beverage for consumption on the premises where sold, like bars and restaurants. The minimum bid for the on-sale liquor license is $240,646, which meets the state-determined minimum. The minimum bid amounts are aligned with what has been paid for the City’s past liquor licenses.

Sealed bids will be opened at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 24, 2023, in the Attorney Conference Room 103 at City Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

Bidders will be notified in writing of their award, which is conditional upon the eligibility of the applicant, suitability of the premises for the licenses, use of the license within two years for on-sale licenses and 90 days for off-sale licenses, and compliance with all other state law and City ordinances. The names and amounts of bids for those conditionally awarded will be published online within five business days of the date on the written notice of the conditional awards.

Full details, bid forms, and instructions are available at

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