Q: As an entrepreneurial licensee, I’m thinking about getting in on the alcohol delivery trend. I’ve looked into this and it seems that the same licensing laws apply as they do to my pubs. Am I correct?
A: Generally speaking yes, though you do need to consider some important issues.
For instance, the location where your alcohol will be selected and dispatched after being ordered will need a premises licence with permission for off sales. And like running any other licensed premises, you’ll need a designated premises supervisor with a current personal licence.
If you do end up having to apply for a premises licence for a new location — or having to seek approval for off sales at one of your pubs — let the licensing authority know that the business is for alcohol deliveries.
One of the obvious risks you face with such a business is breaching the licensing objective of the protection of children from harm; simply because you will not see the people who are ordering from you.
Therefore, an age verification tool (a common feature on many website and mobile apps where alcohol is involved) should be used.
There are many good examples online from major alcohol retailers. However, Government guidance goes a step further and advises that delivery drivers check the photo ID of your customers before any physical delivery is made, for example proof of age cards bearing the PASS hologram, photo card driving licences, passports or military ID.
And as a final point, remember that it is illegal to sell alcohol to someone who is drunk — something else that your delivery people should be conscious of.
Selling to shift workers
Q: I’ve recently taken over a pub facing an industrial estate that has a 24-hour print works. I’d like to take advantage of the potential extra revenue by selling hot food and drinks to the shift workers until around 1am; we currently close the kitchen at 9pm. I assume I’m OK to do this because I just want to stay open for longer, solely for this purpose?
A: The requirement for permission for late-night refreshment (LNR) only applies from 11pm, so you can provide hot food and hot non-alcoholic drinks until 11pm immediately, subject to any restrictions on your licence and your permitted opening hours.
Check the existing permissions on your licence as you may already have authorisation. If not, you will need to ensure that LNR and your hours open to the public are authorised until at least 1am.
You may be able to do this with a minor variation, but I would advise you to speak with your licensing authority in advance as they may require a full variation given the proposed times of trading.