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Selling Alcohol

The Licensing Act 2003 introduced a system to regulate the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of entertainment to the public and the provision of late night refreshment between the hours of 11pm and 5am. This guide offers you an overview of the Act as well as putting the sense in licensing.

Under the Act, there is a statutory requirement that sales of alcohol can only be made from premises that have been granted a premises licence. In addition, all premises MUST have a Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) appointed who is also a personal licence holder. Sales can only be made or authorised by a personal licence holder.

There are 4 governing principles of the Law or licencing objectives which should be actively promoted:

The law

The penalties for not having a licence or failure to comply with the conditions are severe:

A maximum fine of £20,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment

It is a criminal offence for any person to sell or supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 – there are NO exceptions to this. Those who commit this offence could be fined up to £5000. The holder of the licence may also have their licence reviewed which could result in alcohol sales being suspended for three months or worse – permanently!

Test purchasing

Your local authority or the police may, from time to time, send under 18’s to your premises to attempt to buy alcohol. They will check for compliance and may not tell the truth when asked their age – this is called test purchasing and you must ask for approved proof of age if you believe the person is underage.

Acceptable proof of age schemes:

P.A.S.S credited forms of I.D. such as:

Staff training

All on-site staff must be adequately trained initially and if they do not understand their responsibility, then they should not be authorised to sell alcohol – they and you are at risk of prosecution for making unauthorised sales. Once trained, ensure refresher training is undertaken regularly and test staff knowledge.

Refusal to serve customers

Other than the obvious age issues, customers must also be refused service or asked to leave if they appear to be drunk or are violent or disorderly. Every member of staff has a responsibility not to allow this sort of behavior on the premises and if a customer refuses to leave then the police should be called. If you refuse to serve anyone, you must record this in a refusal book (example is included on this website) and this should be kept so that it is readily available to all staff members.

Top tips for selling alcohol

Obtaining an alcohol licence

We are offering a great opportunity to retailers who would like to investigate obtaining an alcohol licence. We at Palmer and Harvey can help you apply for your licence with our Licensing Scheme and we can provide you with free stock to help offset the costs (terms and conditions apply). 

Email alcohol@palmerharvey.co.uk if you are interested in finding out more.

Download the relevent selling alcohol documents here:

Title Uploaded Date Size
Selling Alcohol
Challenge 25 2nd January 2014 702.68K Download
Checking I D 2nd January 2014 39.94K Download
Refusal Log 2nd January 2014 13.21K Download
Under 18 Poster 2nd January 2014 20.45K Download