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Special Liquor Licence needed to supply free drinks

Special Liquor Licence needed to supply free drinks

With the summer party season approaching Council’s Environmental Health Team is asking businesses or organisations planning an event where liquor will be served to contact them to ascertain if they need a special liquor licence.

Liquor Licencing Inspector Shona Murfitt said that many businesses do not realise that if they provide free alcoholic drinks at an event they will need a special licence to do so.

“This includes situations such as businesses holding a thank you to customers event, or launching or promoting new premises or products where alcohol is available free to the guests, or where a ticket is sold to an event where the alcohol is complimentary,” she said.

“Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (the Act) all these types of events would require a special liquor licence as although the alcohol is being supplied for free it is connected with the sale of a product or service.”

“Council has no desire to restrict commercial hospitality but equally we would like to assist businesses avoid the significant penalties associated with breaches of the Act.”

“We have had situations recently where businesses have promoted such things as ‘free bubbly’ or ‘refreshments provided’ in conjunction with a business event.”

“Under the Act these business owners could be liable for a fine of up to $10,000.”

Ms. Murfitt said that people should note that the processing time for a special liquor licence is 20 working days and that that there is a statutory alcohol licencing shutdown period that runs 20 December to 15 January every year.

“This means that anyone needing a special licence for events planned up until end February 2017 need to get their application in to Council before the 18 November.”

The only exceptions allowed are for unforeseen circumstances such as funerals.”

Ms. Murfitt added that anyone holding an event of any type where alcohol is available should be aware of the new rules around supplying liquor to people under 18 years of age.

“The best thing anyone can do is give the Environmental Health Team a call via their local Council office and we will give you all the advice you need and help you with your special licence application if you need one,” said.


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