Selling Alcohol From Home homes

Published on March 10th, 2015 | by Dean Carr


Selling alcohol from home do I need a licence?


Essentially the answer is yes. Any sale of alcohol to the general public requires to be licensed correctly.

What is alcohol

The first thing you will need to understand is what is classed as alcohol. Alcohol can be found in various products including some dental and cleaning products including mouth wash, perfume, methylated spirits etc. This is generally classed as industrial alcohol.

Alcohol for human consumption could be beer, lager, cider, Stout, wine, fortified wines, champagne, liqueurs, spirits and alco-pops. Any alcohol above 0.5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) requires a licence to sell it to the general public.

The second thing you will need to understand is the difference between the retail sale of alcohol and a sale of alcohol to the licensed trade. The Licensing Act 2003 defines these as follows; 

  • A retail sale of alcohol
  • A trade sale of alcohol to a trader

The retail sale of alcohol

A retail sale of alcohol to the general public could include a sale of alcohol from behind a bar, a sale of alcohol from a sales counter in a shop or supermarket, a sale of alcohol from a Deli or café, a sale of alcohol in a restaurant or hot food take away, a sale of alcohol from a farmers market or market stall, a sale of alcohol from a temporary event, a sale of alcohol via the internet or by post. This will also include a cottage industry selling food hampers, which contain bottles of wine, spirits or champagne.

The retail sale of alcohol in England and Wales requires either a premises licence or a temporary licence known as a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). Every sale of alcohol must be made or authorised by a holder of a personal licence!

The trade sale of alcohol

Wholesale or trade to trade sales of alcohol are made to licensed premises such as; pubs, bars, hotels, restaurants, shops or businesses involved in the retail re-sale of alcohol. Wholesale sales of alcohol do not require a licence.

Wholesale sales of alcohol are generally delivered in bulk or collected in large quantities from a wholesaler. Most wholesalers of alcohol operate from trading estates, which generally do not have approved planning consent for retailing to the general public.

Obtaining a premise licence at your home

A premises licence is granted by a local council’s Licensing Authority.  To obtain a premises licence the application fee is based upon the rateable value of a business premises. Once granted an annual fee is payable to the local Council each year for the licence. Obtaining a licence to retail alcohol from your home is unlikely, however we have encountered small cottage industries that have been granted a licence on a separate part of a domestic dwelling such as an out building or garage used for business purposes only. You will also require planning permission as you can appreciate your neighbours may not take kindly to large delivery vehicles turning up to a residential street.

Most cottage style industries may run their website and organise their paperwork from home, but store and dispatch their alcohol from an industrial unit, storage unit or warehouse. Therefore the alcohol or premises licence is granted to the premises where the alcohol is dispatched and legally the sale of alcohol is appropriated.

Submitting an application

Every application for a new premises licence to sell alcohol must be made to the Licensing Authority where the legal sale is appropriated. Each application must be submitted to all responsible authorities within the Council area where applied for, this will normally include the Police, Fire Authority, Town and County Planning Department, Child Protection, Trading Standards, Environmental Health and various others. Application fees are based upon the rateable value of the premises. Every application must also include a scale floor plan at 1:100 of the proposed business area. The application must also include the written consent of the proposed Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) who must hold a personal licence.

Advertising an application

Every application for a new premises licence must be advertised correctly, this includes placing a notice in the public notices section of a local newspaper. The application must be advertised for 28 consecutive days in the correct format at the proposed site of business. Failure to comply will lead to the rejection of the licence application.

Objections to a licence application

Responsible Authorities and interested parties (local neighbours and businesses) can make an objection against any application made for a premises licence. If this happens then the Licensing Authority will organise a hearing before the Council’s Licensing Committee. At this hearing the Licensing Committee will normally choose to grant or refuse the application. Applicants and objectors have the right of appeal to a Magistrates Court of law.

Planning permission

A premise licence is useless without the correct planning consent. It is essential to ensure the relevant planning approval is in place prior to any application.

Our most frequent question

Selling alcohol from home do I need a licence? If one of our most frequent questions. Hopefully this article will answer a lot of these questions for you, further information can be obtained from and their helpful team or from your local Council’s Licensing Authority.




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About the Author

Dean Carr

Dean has been involved in alcohol licensing for over 20 years and has helped many independent retailers and corporate clients obtain a licence to sell alcohol or offer late night refreshment, regulated entertainment from all sorts of premises. Dean writes articles for various trade related blogs and is currently Managing Director of the PLT group of companies who run APLH and SCPLH personal alcohol licence courses nationwide. You can contact Dean or a member of his expert licensing team on: 01242 222 188

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