Thursday, 21 December 2017

Alcohol Licensing: The Nitty Gritty Stuff

Anyone who knows me (or Lewis) will know that Lewis spent the last year in Laos running his own bar. Besides all of the fun and rewarding sides of running a bar and being in charge, Lewis (and consequently me when I went out to help him) realised that there is a lot of nitty gritty behind the scenes stuff too. 

If you are dreaming of running your own bar or restaurant in the UK then there are lots of things to consider - and one of the most important things to get clued up on is alcohol licensing. Luckily I have teamed up with specialists in gas supply for business, Flogas, to tell you all you need to know. 

General rules

Any business wanting to sell alcohol in either England or Wales must have a license which has been authorised by the licensing authority which is usually the local council. The Home Office has to oversee this legislation which is defined 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 a premises license if they are the owner of the business in that premises. 
There is a fee to obtain a licence and alongside this you will also have to complete an application form and send it to your local council. This application should also be sent to the police and other responsible authorities, including: 
  • Local trading standards
  • Local fire and rescue
  • Planning authority
  • The primary care trust (PCT) or local health board (LHB)
  • Environmental health authority
  • Any other licensing authority nearby to your premises 
Premises licences

Having a licence authorises the use of any premises (defined as a vehicle, vessel or moveable structure) for activities that involve the sale of alcohol. In order to successfully apply for this licence, a series of questions will have to be answered. These questions include: 
  • Your details as an applicant 
  • The opening hours of your premises
  • General info regarding the premises (such as the address)
  • Who you wish to be the designated premises supervisor (DPS)
  • What activities you wish to carry out (by ticking appropriate boxes on form)
  • What days and times you want the licence to be active from 
  • Your operating schedule (including date you want to start licence)
  • How you intend to promote the four key licensing objectives: the prevention of crime and disorder, the prevention of public nuisance, public safety and the protection of children from harm
  • Any advertising on/around the premises that you wish to use 
Personal licences 

General staff (such as chefs/waiters) do not need a personal licence in a pub but all pubs must have a premises supervisor that holds a personal licence. If you intend to be the owner of the premises licence then you should also apply to be the personal licence holder if the pub is your own business. 

One of the main reasons for this licence is to ensure that anyone running or managing a pub should do so in a professional manner - so take this into consideration. 

With the above info you've got everything you need to get started with your application in the hope that one day you'll be pouring the pints in your own pub - cheers! 



  1. This is so useful for someone who is thinking of taking the leap and starting their own business!

  2. I have to admit I've never thought about the ins and outs of running a bar. It sounds like if it is something you want to get into you need to learn a lot.

  3. I remember doing my licensing exam a few years ago and I was so nervous, but thankfully passed. You have to be really thorough and make sure your staff follow all the rules

  4. I didn't realise how much there was to running a bar, you sometimes forget about all the behind the scenes stuff x

  5. What a fab post to help others who are in the same boat of obtaining the alcohol license, thanks for sharing

  6. I genuinely didn't realise there was quite so much involved in getting the legalities sorted out. Some great concise info here x

  7. I had no idea you'd need so much info in order to get an alcohol licence! Really great tips here :D

  8. My Husband Mother used to run a pub many many years ago and how thing have changed.

  9. I never knew all of this about licensing. Seems like there is a lot to it

  10. This is really useful info for someone looking at getting a licence. We researched some of this when we wanted to get a licence for our church hall funnily enough!

  11. This is really interesting I suppose I haven't though too much about it myself. In NI our rules are slightly different to the UK which annoys me so much as bars close earlier here etc

  12. This is really interesting, it must be so important to make sure you have everything set up right for this industry

  13. I never knew about any of this stuff! Very informative

  14. There's a lot more to it than lots of people think, isn't there? But then tight regulation must be really important where alcohol is concerned.

  15. Wow that's a lot of stuff to think about. Do you still have to have a clean criminal record?

  16. Gosh there's so much more that goes into alcohol licencing than you'd expect! This is such an interesting and informative post!

  17. I guess if you are selling alcohol you do need to make sure that its all done in a legal and legitimate way.It sounds like that is a lot of official work involved.

  18. Lots of work goes into getting it all sorted - I had no idea. This is a really handy checklist post

  19. This is very informative and thanks for sharing this post about alcohol licensing. A great read for those who are planning to have a bar business.

  20. This was a great read for me because my friend and I are thinking of opening a little cafe in our hometown, and we'd like to be able to add alcohol to some of our coffees. I've forwarded it her to have a read of too :)

    Louise x

  21. Lots of great information here. I don't think it's something most people think of when they dream of running their own bar. A lot more goes in to it behind the scenes.

  22. I have never wanted to run my bar, but this is useful for those who would like too!


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