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Tag Archive: liquor licence

Are you properly licensed?

Renew your liquor licence on time and make sure you have the right licence for your outlet

It's time to renew your liquor licence

If you sell alcohol, in whatever type of establishment – bottle store, grocery shop, bar or restaurant – this is probably your busiest time of year. Workers are enjoying end-of-year functions, shoppers are stocking up for the forthcoming festive season, everyone is winding down and spending more time socialising than usual. Hopefully, your business is booming. But it’s also the time of year when you must renew your liquor licence!

When you must renew your liquor licence

Renewals in the Western Cape are due by 31 December. If you are late, you will pay a significant penalty. A delay until 31 January will incur a 50% surcharge and until 28 February will incur a 100% surcharge.  During the month of March an application for condonation must be approved by the CEO in order to renew the liquor licence together with a penalty of 150%. If the application for condonation is not approved, the liquor licence will lapse.  However busy you are, set the time aside to complete your renewal and make sure your payment reaches the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) on or before 31 December. 

You can renew your liquor licence every two years

If your cash flow allows, you may find the biennial renewal option more attractive. It gives you the convenience of only having to remember your renewal every second year. However, to qualify for the biennial renewal cycle you must have notified the WCLA of your intention by 30 November. If you missed the boat this year, you must renew your liquor licence for one year as usual. Then complete the correct form and submit it to the authority in good time next year. However, you need to remember that, should you opt to renew biennially, you will not be able to change the renewal back to an annual renewal.  

Types of licence

There are four standard types of liquor licence:

  1. Micro-manufacture on- & off-consumption
  2. On-consumption
  3. Off-consumption 
  4. On- and off-consumption (only under exceptional circumstances)

 These are fairly self-explanatory, but for clarity, examples of each include:

  1. Wine farm / Wine cellar / Brewery / Distillery 
  2. Restaurant 
  3. Liquor store 
  4. Deli – patrons visiting the deli can enjoy a glass of wine or beer but also visit the shop at the deli and purchase closed bottles of liquor for consumption off the premises (very popular in smaller tourist towns)

In addition to these permanent licences, necessary for operating any establishment that sells liquor, there are two types of temporary licence: temporary and an event liquor licence. Let’s look at these.

Temporary licence

A temporary licence is needed when an existing licence holder wishes to sell liquor from an alternative, temporary venue. This could be a weekend market or seasonal pop-up event. Temporary liquor licences can run for up to 14 consecutive days at a time but cannot be granted for more than 30 days in a calendar year.  Note that the process for applying for a temporary licence is almost as rigorous as for a permanent licence, and is for existing licence holders only.

Event licence

This is the licence you need if you are hosting a fundraising event or fête (for example) and want to sell liquor. You are not in the trade and your event is a one-off. Anyone above the age of 18 who has not been disqualified can apply for an event liquor licence. You must apply at least 40 days before your event date, but don’t leave it to the last minute as there is quite a lot of documentation to compile to support your application. 

How to apply

More information and all relevant application forms can be found at, but to ensure you follow the correct procedures and secure your licence in good time, with the minimum of hassle, it makes sense to engage the services of an expert liquor licensing lawyer. SD Law will manage the application process for you affordably and efficiently. Contact Simon on 086 099 5146 or email to discuss your liquor licensing needs.

Further reading:

How to apply for a liquor licence

Liquor licensing – a slow process

What you need to know about the new liquor licence laws

Special event liquor licence

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Liquor licensing – a slow process

Don’t be left (high and) dry. Get your liquor licence application in on time.

Despite our struggling economy, there seems to be no shortage of new establishments opening their doors to a thirsty and hungry clientele. Linden, a suburb of Johannesburg, has seen a boom of new bars and restaurants recently, catering for every taste from burgers to tapas. But some of these eateries are opening without a liquor licence. Across the country, restaurants and businesses wishing to sell alcohol are facing long delays in the liquor licensing process. A publican in Mbomelela, Mpumalanga, has been waiting eight months with no delivery date in sight. What’s the hold-up?

Due diligence

Let’s be fair to the authorities. South Africa has a huge social problem with alcohol. Alcohol abuse fuels crime and violence, against women and children in particular. There is an epidemic of illegal sale of alcohol. The provincial Liquor Boards, who issue on- and off-consumption liquor licences, have a duty to scrutinise every application and ensure the suitability of the licence holder and the premises. This is part of their duty to protect the public. 

The National Liquor Authority is part of the DTI and is charged with regulating the macro manufacturing and distribution tiers of the liquor industry. Each province has its own liquor authority and you must apply to your local board for a liquor licence for on-consumption, off-consumption and micro manufacturing.

Applicants must undergo police clearance and submit building plans, photographs of the premises, information about where the alcohol will be stored, written representations in support of the application, and various other documents. Checking the authenticity of these documents and conducting due diligence on the applicant takes time. In a period of expansion in the industry, there  will be an inevitable backlog of applications in the processing pipeline. The Liquor Board is just doing its job.

Liquor licence nominal timelines

There are certain milestones that must be met in the liquor licensing process. Fore example, in the Western Cape, a notice must be publicly displayed on the proposed licensed premises indicating that an application has been lodged for a liquor licence. This must be on display for 28 days from the date of application lodgement.

Furthermore, there is a cut-off date every month by which applications must be lodged. They must be submitted by 14:00 on the Friday preceding the first Friday of any month (or if the preceding Friday is a public holiday, by the last working day before the holiday). When you add these lead times together, and allow for the workload of the Liquor Licensing Tribunal, it’s not hard to see how the time required to grant a licence adds up. If you are opening a new establishment, be sure to allow at least six months for your licence to be granted, but don’t be surprised if it takes much longer. 

Temporary and event licences

It’s the time of year when non-commercial and other organisations want to hold functions selling alcohol. To do that legally, the event organiser or whoever wishes to sell alcohol must apply for either a temporary or event licence, depending on the nature of the function. They are not the same thing and the requirements for each are very different.

Temporary liquor licence

A temporary liquor licence must be held by an existing licence holder. For example, a restaurant or bar may be holding a pop-up at a seasonal market. Temporary liquor licences are granted for 14 consecutive days at a time, so only one licence is needed for a market that runs for a week, for example. A temporary licence may not be held for more than 30 days in a year, and the information and supporting documentation required with the application are similar to a permanent licence. Don’t be fooled by “temporary”. The application process is just as thorough. So if you haven’t yet applied for that temporary licence for the Christmas market you want to participate in, it may be too  late. Temporary licences must be applied for at least 40 days in advance of the first day of the function or event in question.

Event liquor licence

Unlike a temporary licence, anyone can apply for an event licence in the Western Cape, provided they are “a person of 18 years and older that are not disqualified according to Section 35 of the Western Cape Liquor Act 4 of 2008 as amended”. The documentation required is also similar to an application for a permanent liquor license and  requires, amongst others, details regarding the event venue and the credentials of the applicant. It takes time and care to prepare correctly. An application for an event liquor license must also be submitted 40 days before the first day of the event in order to avoid having to apply for condonation and the payment of penalty fees.  

Need help?

Applying for a liquor licence, whether permanent, temporary or event, can be a complicated undertaking, especially if you are new to the process. SD Law & Associates are experts in liquor licensing. If you have any questions about the licensing requirements or need help with your application, contact Simon on 086 099 5146 or email We will help you secure your on- or off-consumption, temporary or event liquor licence as painlessly as possible.

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Special Event Liquor Licence and How To Get One

Special event liquor licence and how to get one

Special Event liquor licence: Summer is in full swing and it’s the season for outdoor events and parties. Many charities take advantage of the good weather and long days to hold fund-raising events. If you are planning an event for your cause, make sure you stay within the law and obtain all the necessary  liquor licence permits.

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