Rules on off-sales
Q. I manage a restaurant licensed to sell alcohol and recently had a customer who asked whether they could take half a bottle of wine home with them following their meal. Our premises licence does not permit off-sales and I had to refuse the request, much to the annoyance of the customer. Was this was the correct approach?#
A. I appreciate the difficult circumstances, but you were right to refuse the request. If the premises does not have a licence to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises (an off-licence), you should not permit your customers to take alcohol away. It might be worth checking your premises licence, as you may have a condition permitting limited off-sales, for example one which permits off-sales only where they relate to unfinished alcohol purchased with a meal.
You may want to consider applying to vary your premises licence to add off-sales. Before doing so, it is worth checking with your local licensing authority and police whether they would have any concerns regarding the addition of off-sales. It is not uncommon for authorities to operate a core hours policy or request conditions which ensure that off-sales are appropriately managed. If you do not need to add full off-sales and are only wishing to cover the scenario discussed in your question, you could vary your premises licence to add a condition which permits off-sales in limited circumstances but it is important to ensure any condition added as part of the variation is appropriately worded and provides a workable solution.
Sky Sports permissions
Q. I saw the recent press coverage about three pubs that were fined a total of over £300,000 for showing Sky Sports illegally. There have been many articles of late covering this and I want to make sure my pub premises has the necessary permissions in place.
A. This can be a rather complicated area but if you are showing a subscription service such as Sky Sports you must ensure you have the appropriate licence from the particular company providing the service. It is important to ensure you subscribe to a service which permits you to show the content in public and not just a personal subscription for use in your own home. Many subscription service providers will have business services available, although it is worth noting some streaming services, such as Netflix, do not permit public screenings as part of their subscription.
You will of course have to think about other licensing requirements and the particular content of any programmes, sports or films you screen. You should consider whether you need the provision of films on your premises licence, whether you are required to pay for permission to show any material which is copyright protected, and whether a TV licence is required.
Copyright legislation protects moving images and can include films and TV programmes. A number of companies such as Filmbank and the Motion Picture Licensing Company can help you obtain the correct licence, which will depend on the type of footage you show on your TV screens, the size of the premises and the number of screens you have in operation. You will need to carefully manage any broadcasts and ensure you are appropriately licensed to show relevant content. Due to the complexity of this
area, we recommend obtaining specialist legal advice.