If you intend to sell alcohol through a home delivery service, via mail order or online, you must hold a valid liquor licence – specifically a “packaged liquor licence”. Importantly, the licence does not allow for the consumption of alcohol on the licensed premises. Below, we explain how to apply for a packaged liquor licence.
In New South Wales, the Liquor Act 2007 (NSW) (the Act) and Liquor Regulations 2008 (NSW) (the Regulations), collectively the Acts, regulate and control the supply and consumption of New South Wales. Broadly speaking, the Acts seek to facilitate a balance between the public interest and the liquor industry through a flexible and practical regulatory system with minimal formality and technicality. To this end, a licensing regime has been implemented that requires people (including corporate entities) to take out and maintain liquor licences if they intend to supply alcohol as defined in section 7 of the Act.
Authorisation Conferred by a Packaged Liquor Licence
Under a packaged liquor licence, a licensee will be authorised to:
- Sell liquor by retail in sealed containers on the licensed premises for consumption away from the licensed premises;
- Sell liquor wholesale, at any time on the licensed premises, to persons authorised to sell liquor;
- Sell or supply liquor, at any time on the licensed premises, to the employees of the licensee or of a related corporation of the licensee;
- Sell or supply liquor on the licensed premises during the trading hours permitted, otherwise than in sealed containers to customers only for the purpose of tasting (section 29 of the Act).
Particular types of businesses are not permitted to hold a package liquor licence including:
- General stores;
- Service stations; and
- Takeaway shops.
For the avoidance of doubt, please note that a general store includes a convenience store, mixed business or a milk bar with a retail area of more than 240 square meters whose primary business function is the sale of groceries.
Under a packaged liquor licence, businesses can usually only sell alcohol between the hours of 5 am to 10 pm, Monday to Sunday. The business must not sell alcohol on Good Friday or Christmas Day. It is possible to seek an extension of the trading hours as a part of the application however an additional fee is payable.
Daily Six Hour Closure
A six-hour closure period applies to all packaged liquor licences granted from the 30 October 2008 onwards. The usual closure time is 11 pm to 4 am (in keeping with the standard trading hours). As with the trading hours, it is possible to seek an amendment to the standard 6 hour closure time, however, to do so the applicant must outline:
- Why the amendment is sought;
- The current and proposed mode of operation;
- The likely impact the amendment will have on the business’ patrons and the local community;
- The opinion of the local police in respect to the proposal;
- How the proposed closure period will minimise harm associated with misuse and abuse of alcohol;
- How the proposed closure period will encourage responsible attitudes and practices towards the promotion, sale, supply, service and consumption of alcohol; and
- Whether the proposed closure period will detract from the amenity of community life.
Liquor Sales Area
A bottle shop can only operate in an area of the licensed premises that is adequately separated from the remainder of the premises (designated liquor sales area). No other activity can be conducted in the designated liquor sales area apart from those connected to the sale of alcohol under the packaged liquor licence (section 30 of the Act).
Before an applicant can submit an application for a packaged liquor licence to the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (NSW), they must first notify the local community of their intention to apply for the licence. This is done by completing a Notice of Intention to Apply for a Liquor Licence (the Notice) and supplying a copy of the same to the local consent authority (local council) and the local police. The applicant must affix a copy of the Notice to the door of the premises through which they are running their business and in some circumstances, may need to bring it to the attention of all residents within a 50-meter radius. The Notice must be displayed for no less than 30 days before proceeding to file the application.
Once the notification period has lapsed, the applicant can proceed to file an Application for a Packaged Liquor Licence. The Application should comprise of the:
- Application Form;
- Community Impact Statement (Category A);
- Prescribed application fee; and
- Associated documents as set out in the Application Form.
A Community Impact Statement (Category A) will also need to be completed and filed with the Application. A Community Impact Statement is a written summary that describes the potential harm (if any) that the packaged liquor licence would have on the local stakeholders.
The above comprises of what can be referred to as an Application Package, and it must be submitted to the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (NSW), the local council and the local police.
If you would like more information about applying for a liquor licence or if you require assistance in completing and submitting the same, get in touch with our liquor licence team on 1300 544 755.