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LIQUOR LICENSES: THE BASICS

Article by listed AttorneyNanika Prinsloo

Any person who sells, manufactures or distributes liquor must have a liquor license.

A liquor license is applied for from the Liquor Board.  Each province has its own Liquor Board and its own rules.

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On average, it takes about only four months to obtain a liquor license – if the liquor license is applied for correctly.  As with anything else, watch out for people who say that they can do a liquor license for under R10 000 – they cannot.  We get very many people who paid less, only to find out that it was a scam and that the liquor license was not applied for. Majority of the time the liquor licenses were applied for incorrectly which caused it to be rejected.  Rather pay a little more but do it right the first time.

WHO CAN APPLY FOR A LIQUOR LICENSE?

Any person above the age of 18 years may apply for a liquor license.  Company and Close Corporation may also hold a liquor license.  The following persons may not apply for a liquor license:

1.       Any person that received a jail sentence without the option of paying a fine, 

2.       Any person that was declared insolvent but not yet rehabilitated,

3.       Any Company, Close Corporation or Co-operative in which either persons mentioned in 1 or 2 above has a shareholding or member’s interest, or any partnership or trust that the person is involved with is also excluded.

All other persons and entities may apply for a liquor license. Read also our full article on who can apply for a South African Liquor License

HOW DOES IT WORK?

We will visit your premises to see what it looks like and whether we need to advise you on specifics that we know the Liquor Board will require.  We will also check the zoning of the premises and make sure that you can trade from the premises.  We will complete the application forms on your behalf to make sure that they are completed correctly.   The forms must be completed correctly and the correct information must be attached, otherwise the license may be rejected for a reason that could have been avoided.

We also assist you with the floor plans, pictures, street plans and all such like that must be attached.  You don’t want to attach too much information but definitely also not too little.

WHAT TYPE OF LICENSE MUST I APPLY FOR?

There are several types of liquor licenses. You can also apply for a temporary or special event liquor license, which is for either a once-off event or a short period of time.

There are two types of liquor licenses:  on-consumption or off-consumption. The first is to sell liquor that can be taken on the premises (like a restaurant) and off-consumption where the liquor cannot be consumed on the premises but must be taken away. It is possible to get a license that allows a combination of the two.

When it comes to manufacturing of liquor, one can apply for a micro manufacturing license for on- and/or off consumption.

RENEWAL FEES

Licenses must be renewed each year and if the renewal license is not paid on time, the license will lapse.  You will then have to apply for a new license all over again, so make sure that you are aware of when you must renew the license so that you do not loose it.