We all know that in Australian culture, alcohol plays a lead role and that liquor licence laws exist to keep everything in check. The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for 2016-17 revealed that, on average, we Aussies consume 9.4 litres of pure alcohol a year. Put in context, that’s the equivalent of 224 stubbies, 38 bottles of wine, 17 bottles of cider, 4 bottles of spirits and 33 cans of premixed drinks! So it should come as no surprise that the alcohol market in Australian is worth a whopping $15.5 billion! It’s little wonder all sorts of businesses are wanting to know how they can get in on the action!
Many business owners dismiss this opportunity as something for the “too hard” basket, thinking that they need to jump through hoops and a whole lot of red tape to get themselves a liquor licence. Not true!
While you need a liquor licence to sell alcohol in Australia in most situations, there are some key exceptions under Australian law where you can sell or serve alcohol without a licence, so long as your core business is not to sell or supply alcohol.
Some of our favourite exemptions are set out below. Read on to find out whether you can hop aboard the retail liquor cash cow today!
A beautiful bottle of wine or a fancy Scotch can step a fabulous gift up a notch. Thankfully, you don’t need a liquor licence to up-level your gift game. You can include alcohol in a sale without a licence, as long as:
• the order contains flowers or food;
• it’s designed to be delivered as a genuine gift to a person;
• you’ve purchased the alcohol included in the gift from a retail liquor outlet;
• you’ve included less than the maximum volume of alcohol permitted (for example 1.5 litres in VIC and 2 litres in NSW);
• it’s packaged and presented in such a manner that it would be taken to be a gift;
• you don’t supply it to a minor (duh!);
• the delivery location is somewhere other than where the gift was purchased; and
• you make the delivery between the hours of 7am to 7pm.
Want to woo your new customers with a chilled glass of champagne on arrival? Good news is – you can!
Hairdressing salons are generally exempt from liquor licensing laws, so long as alcohol is not sold or consumed on Christmas Day, Good Friday or before 1pm on Anzac Day.
Touring is thirsty work, especially in the summer months. What better way to delight your clients than with a cold beer at the end of a long day. Happily, in certain states tour operators are exempt from requiring a liquor licence where:
• the sale of alcohol takes place during a tour booked with the operator;
• you don’t sell any client more than 2 standard drinks in a day;
• it’s not Christmas Day, Good Friday, before 1pm on Anzac Day, or on any other day between 2am and 10am; and
• you’re not in a restricted area.
Check out our handy table below with a run down on liquor license exemptions in all Australian states and territories:
|Licence exemption type:||States where this applies:|
|Bed and Breakfast establishments||NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA, ACT|
|Hairdressing salons||QLD, VIC, ACT|
|Tour operators||QLD, WA, ACT|
|Retirement villages||QLD, TAS, VIC, ACT|
|Host farm accommodation||QLD|
|Cruise ships||NSW, WA, SA, TAS, VIC, WA|
|Aircraft||NSW, QLD, WA, SA, WA|
|Hospitals and nursing homes||NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA, ACT|
|Gift basket providers||NSW, QLD, WA, SA, TAS, WA, ACT, VIC|
|Florists||QLD, TAS, VIC, ACT|
|Fundraising events by non-profits||NSW, QLD|
|Food essence||SA, WA|
|Duty free shop||SA|
|Alcohol included in Therapeutic Goods||SA|
|Alcohol for medicinal purposes||NSW|
|Catering courses as part of school syllabus||SA, TAS|
|Tea with alcohol and mulled wines||TAS|
|Live entertainment venues (BYO only)||WA|
|Complimentary supply by business||WA|
|Organisers of functions on licensed premises||WA|
PS – if you’re from the Northern Territory and feeling a bit left out – rightly so! Unfortunately there are no liquor licence exemptions under NT law.
It’s important to understand that each of these exemptions comes with certain conditions, which vary slightly from state to state. If you’d like to explore a liquor licence exemption for your business (or if you don’t see your business on the list and think you might need to apply for a liquor licence), get in touch with our friendly team today for a free consult.
Cheers to that!
Liquor Act 1978 (NT)
Liquor Act 1992 (QLD)
Liquor Act 2007 (NSW)
Liquor Act 2010 (ACT)
Liquor Control Act 1988 (WA)
Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (VIC)
Liquor Licensing Act 1990 (TAS)
Liquor Licensing Act 1997 (SA)