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The Licensing Guys




So, you’ve got this brilliant idea to start selling alcohol online in England and Wales, but the world of Licensing Law seems like a daunting labyrinth. Fear not! In this article, we’ll break it down for you, step by step, with a touch of fun to keep things interesting. By the end, you’ll be equipped with the insight to consider whether to apply for a Premises Licence yourself, or ask us – The Licensing Guys ™ – to do so on your behalf.  After that, it’s time to embark on your exciting online alcohol-selling venture. Cheers to that!
  1. What is a Premises Licence?
You might be wondering, “What in the world is a Premises Licence?” Well, my friend, it’s your golden ticket to legally sell alcohol from your online business. It’s a document issued by the local licensing authority in England and Wales that allows you to operate within specific premises and sell alcohol to the public. Think of it as your official stamp of approval to pour out those delicious drinks to eager customers.
  1. Why Do I Need a Premises Licence?
Now, you might be scratching your head and thinking, “But why do I even need a Premises Licence? Can’t I just start selling alcohol without it?” Ah, my friend, that’s a slippery slope you don’t want to slide down. Operating without a valid Premises Licence is a legal no-no and can result in hefty fines, closure of your business, or even criminal charges. So, let’s steer clear of trouble and get that licence sorted out, shall we?  To sell alcohol online, you DO require a Premises Licence, and as the transaction takes place online, the Premises Licence must cover the location where the alcohol is picked, packed and despatched – i.e. your store that the alcohol leaves on its journey to be delivered to the customer.
  1. Who Issues the Premises Licence?
Good question! The power to grant Premises Licences lies in the hands of the local licensing authority aka your local council. Each local authority covers a specific area, so you’ll need to determine which authority has jurisdiction over your intended premises. To find the correct authority, you can consult the UK Government’s Licensing Authority List or simply do a quick online search using your location as a keyword.
  1. Do I Meet the Eligibility Criteria?
Hold your horses, eager entrepreneur! Before you dive headfirst into the application process, it’s essential to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. Here are a few key points to consider:
  1. a) Age Restrictions: You must be at least 18 years old OR a Limited Company or similar body to apply for a Premises Licence. Sorry, underage prodigies, you’ll have to wait a little longer.
  2. b) Right to Work in the UK: As an applicant, you must have the legal right to work in the United Kingdom. British citizenship or appropriate immigration status will do the trick.
  3. c) Convictions: Any previous convictions for offenses related to dishonesty, violence, drugs, or sexual misconduct may impact your eligibility. It’s crucial to disclose this information truthfully in your application and address any concerns that may arise.
Remember, these criteria ensure the safety and well-being of the public and maintain the integrity of the licensing process.
  1. How Do I Apply for a Premises Licence?
Ah, the moment you’ve been waiting for—the application process itself! Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved in applying for a Premises Licence:
Step 1: Application Form: The first step is to complete the Premises Licence application form. You can obtain this form from the website of your local licensing authority or request a physical copy if you prefer to go old-school.
Step 2: Required Documentation: Alongside the application form, you’ll need to provide supporting documents, such as:
Operating Schedule: This document outlines various aspects of your business, including opening hours, proposed activities, and measures to promote the licensing objectives (more on those later).
Consent Form:  You or one of your Managers will have to be proposed as the Designated Premises Supervisor.  They are the specific point of accountability for the sale of alcohol at your new premises, and are primarily responsible if things go wrong.  Therefore, to assume this important role, your Designated Premises Supervisor must hold a PERSONAL Licence in their own right.
Plan of the Premises: A detailed plan illustrating the layout of the premises is crucial. Make sure it includes all areas relevant to the licensable activities, such as the bar area, seating areas, beer garden, toilets etc.
For additional documents specific to your situation, it’s best to consult The Licensing Guys or your local licensing authority’s website to get in touch with their helpful staff.
Step 3: Submitting the Application: Once you’ve filled out the application form and gathered the necessary documentation, it’s time to submit your masterpiece! Double-check that you haven’t missed any required fields or documents to avoid unnecessary delays.
Step 4: Fees, Glorious Fees: Ah, yes, everything comes with a price tag, doesn’t it? Applying for a Premises Licence is no different. The fees vary depending on the local authority and the Business Rateable Value of premises you’re applying for. You can find detailed information about the fees on your local licensing authority’s website or call us for the price.
Now, wasn’t that a piece of cake? Okay, maybe not a literal cake, but it’s certainly doable, especially when you have the right information at your fingertips.  Alternatively, you can cut out all the stress and form-filling and instruct us The Licensing Guys ™ to get that Premises Licence for you.  We have licensed literally hundreds of premises across the UK with near universal success.
  1. Understanding the Licensing Objectives
Before you embark on this licensing adventure, it’s essential to understand the key licensing objectives. These objectives form the backbone of Licensing Law and are designed to promote public safety, prevent crime and disorder, protect children from harm, and foster public health. Here’s a breakdown of the licensing objectives:
  1. a) Prevention of Crime and Disorder: This objective aims to ensure that the licensed premises don’t become a hub for criminal activities or contribute to disorderly behaviour in the area. Measures like installing CCTV cameras or having trained security staff can help fulfil this objective.
  2. b) Public Safety: This objective focuses on the safety of the public within and around the premises. Adequate fire safety measures, emergency exits, and staff training play a vital role in meeting this objective.
  3. c) Prevention of Public Nuisance: Nobody wants their neighbours to hate them, right? This objective ensures that the licensed activities don’t cause excessive noise, disturbance, or inconvenience to the local community. Soundproofing your premises or implementing strict noise control measures can keep the harmony intact.
  4. d) Protection of Children from Harm: Children are precious and must be protected from harm. This objective places a responsibility on licence holders to prevent underage drinking, restrict access to age-restricted goods, and have clear policies in place to safeguard children from harm.  In the case of online sales and home deliveries, this will mean age verification declarations on your website and ID, age and sobriety checks at the point of delivery.
Now that you’re familiar with the licensing objectives, you can make informed decisions and incorporate them into your operating schedule to show the authorities that you mean business—the legal kind of business, of course!
Congratulations, my aspiring online alcohol seller! You’ve made it to the end of this guide, and now you possess the knowledge to understand on the world of Licensing Law with confidence and a sprinkle of fun. Remember, applying for a Premises Licence in England and Wales is a process that requires attention to detail, adherence to regulations, and a commitment to promoting a safe and responsible drinking culture.
The Licensing Guys ™ will gladly undertake this work for you, or if you have the confidence, you can do it for yourself.  Even if you’ve started the process and run into endless obstacles, The Licensing Guys can help and advise you through and around these hurdles, and present your application for you if you have to attend a Licensing Sub Committee Hearing to explain your business to local residents (aka NIMBYs) who intend to stop your fledgling business.
So, go forth, fill those glasses, and raise a toast to your fledgling venture. Cheers to a successful online alcohol business!

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