Published on March 10th, 2015 | by Dean Carr
Is the latest alcohol glitter craze legal?
Since just before Christmas and into the New Year we had several enquiries regarding dressing up bottles of alcohol such as, wine, vodka and champagne with glitter, birthday themes and Christmas costumes! We also had lots of enquiries regarding food hampers prepared at home containing alcohol for resale. During our research in to this article we have been informed that some of these products or services are being offered via social media sites such as Facebook. Our last article focused on the legality of selling alcohol from home. If you sell alcohol then a premises and personal alcohol licence are required.
Selling alcohol online can be a bit of a legal minefield, not to0 long ago people were selling collectable alcohol products such as vintage wine and malt whisky on online auction sites such as, ebay. The legal loop hole being used for these sales was that the individual was selling the container and not it’s alcoholic content. This activity we are glad to say has now been stopped by ebay as technically this was deemed a licensable activity. Online retailers such as Hard to Find Whisky (HTFW), Laithwaites Wine, Firebox.com, Photobox and Moonpig.com all sell alcohol online. All of these companies have a premises licence and a nominated Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) who holds a personal licence.
Selling alcohol without a premises licence
Although we support cottage industries and their growth it is important to know that selling alcohol from a premises without the appropriate licence could lead to a £20,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment. Gaining an alcohol licence for a cottage industry working from home is not impossible as each case has to be considered on its own merits by each local Council. Planning approval may also be required and a change in the rates structure must also be considered from domestic to business!
Some small businesses involved in the retail sale of alcohol have used storage facilities to obtain a premises licence. It is important to remember to ask the landlord for permission and also be aware that an application is based on the rateable value of the business premises, so this could be quite expensive for a large warehouse.
Delivery of alcohol and children
Believe it or not it is not a criminal offence for a child to sign for a delivery of alcohol at home. Just think about the large supermarket chains that offer home delivery services, some of these deliveries may of course contain the odd bottle of wine or two! The Licensing Act 2003 for England & Wales states the following under section 151 – Subsection ( 1), ” A person who works on relevant premises in any capacity, whether paid or unpaid, commits an offence if he knowingly delivers to an individual aged under 18.”
Subsections (1), ( do not apply where —
(a) the alcohol is delivered at a place where the buyer or, as the case may be, person supplied lives or works, or
(b) the individual aged under 18 works on the relevant premises in a capacity, whether paid or unpaid, which involves the delivery of alcohol, or
(c) the alcohol is sold or supplied for consumption on the relevant premises”
However a Licensing Committee would expect the Licensing Objective “the protection of children from harm” to be promoted at all times. This could involve a written document on delivery protocol for a company involved in the home delivery of alcohol.
The sale of alcohol to a person under the age of 18 is a criminal offence subject to a level 5 fine not exceeding £5,000
Get help and information
Need more information on personal alcohol licensing or premises licence applications then please visit: