How does alcohol licensing actually work?

How does alcohol licensing actually work? – words Alexa Wang

So, you’re thinking of your next venture? Is it a pub, is it a restaurant, or just any establishment where alcohol will be served? If so, then you will need a licence to sell the ‘good stuff’.

Before you get to the money-making stage we all dream of, you need to know everything about alcohol licensing and what it means for you. So that you don’t fall at the first hurdle, business gas specialists Flogas have put together this simple information sheet that’ll take you through all there is to know – hurrah!


The general rules

If you have your business idea sorted, great! However, if you are planning to sell or supply alcohol in England and Wales then I’m afraid you must get a licence which is authorised by the licensing authority. This is usually a local council and the legislation is overseen by the Home Office. It’s defined is as follows:

  1. Businesses that sell or supply alcohol on a permanent basis, such as pubs, need to apply for a premises licence.
  2. Those who plan to authorise the sale of alcohol must apply for a personal licence, alongside the premises licence, if they are also the owner of the business in that premises.

Alongside a fee (boo!), you must complete an application form and send it to the local council. As well as the local authority, you will also have to send your application to the police and other responsible authorities; these responsible authorities can include:

  • Local fire and rescue
  • Local trading standards
  • Environmental health authority
  • Planning authority
  • The primary care trust (PCT) or local health board (LHB)
  • Any other licensing authority in whose area part of the premises is located.

Premises licences

In simple terms, the licence allows you to hold activities involving alcohol on your premises. To be successful in applying for this licence, you will be asked a series of questions including the following:

  • General information regarding the premises such as the address.
  • Your details as an applicant.
  • The operating schedule, including the date you want the licence to start from on the premises.
  • You should indicate what licensable activities you wish to carry out by ticking the appropriate boxes on the form. You should also indicate what days and times you want the licence to be active from. This also includes the provision of regulated entertainment, such as indoor sporting events, live music and recorded music.
  • Under the new licensing laws, you should also stipulate who you wish to be the designated premises supervisor (DPS).
  • The opening hours of your premises.
  • How you intend to promote the four key licensing objectives, which are: the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance, the protection of children from harm.
  • The planning of the premises and any advertising on or around the premises that you wish to use.

Personal licences

If it’s a pub you’re looking to run, your general staff don’t require a personal licence, but all pubs do have to have a premises supervisor that holds a personal licence.

If you are going to be the owner of the premises licence, then you would also apply to be the personal licence holder if the pub was your own business. Furthermore, anyone who works in a pub should be authorised to do so by the personal licence holder.

Now you know all that is needed, serving alcohol in your new venture should be straight forward. So, get the licence and get pouring those pints! Cheers!

How does alcohol licensing actually work? – words Alexa Wang


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