In the UK, any business that plans to sell or supply alcohol must operate in accordance with the relevant licencing laws.
But what does this mean for your hospitality or accommodation business?
Can you sell alcohol without a licence?
The Licencing Act 2003 is the legislation used to licence premises in England and Wales on their sale of alcohol. This Act outlines the laws that any business selling alcohol must follow, including the licences they need to apply for and the processes they must put in place to ensure that the sale of alcohol is carried out responsibly.
Under the Licensing Act 2003, you must have both a Personal Licence and a Premises Licence to sell or supply alcohol on your premises.
What about providing free alcohol to my guests?
Many holiday lets, B&Bs and hotels provide guests with a welcome hamper filled with local delicacies, including a bottle of wine. This is a great way to impress your guests and make a good first impression.
However, if you provide free alcohol for your guests, you should be aware that you will still require an alcohol licence. This is because your guests have paid to stay in your accommodation, which means they are essentially paying for the ‘free’ alcohol.
The government is currently in the process of introducing Community and Ancillary Sales Notices (CANs) that will allow accommodation businesses to sell small amounts of alcohol for a nominal fee.
How do I apply for an alcohol licence?
To apply for an alcohol licence, you’ll need to complete an application form and send it to your local council, along with the fee. Some councils accept electronic applications – if this is the case, you’ll be able to apply online.
Once you have obtained a Premises Licence, you will need to become a Personal Licence holder. This will allow you to provide alcohol on behalf of your holiday home. You can apply for this licence through the Government website.
What is the cost of an alcohol licence?
There are two sets of fees involved in applying for an alcohol licence, both of which are based on rating bands. You’ll initially need to pay a fee to cover the cost of applying or varying a licence. In addition to this, you will have to pay an annual charge once the licence has been granted.
At Stewart Hindley, we can help you with all aspects of purchasing or re-mortgaging a hospitality business, including advice for licencing and legalities. For more information, please get in touch with our expert team.