If you produce or sell liquor wholesale, you will require a producer/wholesaler liquor licence. Wholesalers are authorised to sell liquor at any time on the licensed premises to people who sell alcohol (but not to end customers). They can also sell or supply alcohol to their employees or for the purpose of tasting.

Producers are additionally permitted to: 

  • Sell their product only (not any alcohol they choose) to consumers for consumption away from their premises;
  • Sell their product at an industry show, producers’ market or fair (with further notifications/authorisations);
  • Sell liquor for consumption on the premises (if they obtain an additional “drink on-premises” authorisation).

Below, we look at what conditions attach to a producer liquor licence, the application process as well as ongoing requirements. 

What Conditions Attach to a Producer’s Liquor Licence?

Licensees can only sell the “licensee’s product” for consumption away from the premises or at fairs. Broadly speaking, alcohol must have been either produced:

  • On the producer’s premises (vineyards, orchards, etc.); or
  • Using the producer’s fruit; or
  • Using fruit grown under the producer’s direction.

This allows for a producer to include grapes grown in different vineyards in the wine, but only if on the producer’s behalf and to their instructions.

Different limits apply to what percentage of the wine must be from the producer, namely:

  • The producer has produced at least 50% of the wine; or
  • If the producer is producing wine on the licensee’s behalf from fruit grown on their vineyard, 85% of the wine.

In short, the wine must be either predominantly manufactured on the premises or made from fruits grown on the premises.

A producer can only use the same liquor licence for multiple premises that they own (e.g. different vineyards with tasting rooms) if the licensee operates them and they are in the same wine region. Further conditions also specify that for producers’ markets or fairs, the producer can only sell wine for tasting (for potential or actual customers) or for consumption away from the event.

Trading Hours

Wholesalers and producers can sell alcohol to retailers, and other wholesalers at any time. They can also sell products or conduct tastings at any time.

Producers selling on a retail basis are limited to the standard trading hours for a liquor licence: 

  • Monday to Saturday: 5 am to midnight; and 
  • Sunday: 10 am to 10 pm unless extended trading authorisation has been obtained. 

A licence may be subject to specific conditions that vary the hours above or the Sunday trading hours can be extended following further authorisations.

How Do I Apply for a Liquor Licence?

You can apply online for your licence through the NSW OneGov system. Importantly, you may need development consent or other approvals from your local council. The nature of these requirements varies from council to council, but we can help you identify and resolve potential issues. 

How Much Does a Liquor Licence Cost and How Long Does it Take?

Currently, the application fee is $700 along with annual licence fees. If you do not produce more than 100,000 litres per year, the base fee is $204 (current as of December 2016). There are risk loadings if you also apply for a drink on-premises authorisation:

  • If you stay open past midnight, the risk loading is $2,500; 
  • If you stay open beyond 1.30 am, the risk loading is $5,000. 

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority will usually determine an application within four months of the end of the public advertising period.

You must also observe requirements including signage and responsible service of alcohol.

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If you are thinking about starting a microbrewery and want to invite people to taste your brews, you will likely need a producer liquor licence. Questions? Get in touch with our liquor licence lawyers to assist with your application on 1300 544 755.

Daniel Ah-Sun

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