Selling Alcohol Online: A Guide to Licence Requirements

Find out everything you need to know about selling alcohol online, including licence requirements and under-age sales prevention.

The rules and regulations surrounding the sale of alcohol can seem tricky to get your head around. And with the online delivery market expanding year on year, you may be wondering how you can start selling alcohol online and what legal requirements you need to meet. So, what licences are needed to sell alcohol online? We’re here to guide you through everything you need to know.

What licences do I need to sell alcohol online?

In order to sell alcohol online, you’ll need a Personal Licence and a Premises Licence. A Personal Licence holder is required to be the Designated Premises Supervisor, i.e., the person responsible for the Premises Licence. So, this will be the first place to start.

Selling alcohol online

How do I get my Personal Licence?

To gain your Personal Licence you will need to undertake training and complete an exam. You can now undertake these requirements from your own home with the online APLH (Award for Personal Licence Holders) course or SCPLH (Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders). Once you have been granted your award, you then submit your application for a personal licence to your local authority/council. This is the same requirement that is needed for the sale of alcohol in person. We can help you with this part of the application process as part of our service, to help ensure you gain your Personal Licence as soon as possible.

How do I get my Premises Licence?

You will need a Premises Licence from your local council for the commercial property where the handling and dispatch of alcohol is taking place. For retailers and operators this will usually be the same place that the sale of alcohol in-person takes place, but for breweries or distilleries, for example, who do not usually sell in-person, this may be the place where you make and store alcohol normally. You will need to ensure that your Premises Licence allows for the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises, so for some operators this may mean applying to the licensing authority for a new licence or a variation that would permit alcohol delivery.

You will then need to submit your Premises Licence to your local authority/council. Our team can also handle this application process for you, including making variations to an existing Premises Licence, so get in touch with us if you would like help with this.

How do you ensure your customers are legally allowed to buy alcohol?

As a licence holder, you must also ensure that your business trades in compliance with the laws surrounding the sale of alcohol, particularly the legislation around ensuring you do not sell alcohol to children.

You will need to have an over-18 declaration on your website and have customers verify their age at the point of sale. But you may also need to consider delivery and that customers are required to present ID if necessary, on delivery. Licensing authorities will expect that those who undertake deliveries are given the required training and possibly delivery logs and log of refusals. Providing training to all your staff that are involved in the sale and delivery of alcohol essential to make sure they understand the importance of making sure customers are over-18.

We have the option to include our Prevention of Underage Sales online course in your licensing package, just ask our team.

Starting the process

To make the process as easy as possible, we’ve put a package together for existing and new clients who want to start selling alcohol online. The package will be customised to fit your needs but can include any of the following:

  • APLH or SCPLH online course and exam
  • APLH or SCPLH managed application process to your local council
  • Premises Licence managed application or variation
  • Prevention of Underage Sales online course

Contact us today for more information.

The guidance in this article is based on the Licencing Act 2003 which applies to England and Wales; licencing differs slightly for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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