If you want to sell and supply alcohol at an event, you need a special licence.
A special licence authorises the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol at a specific place for a particular occasion, event, or series of events. Special licences are often used to extend the hours or area of licensed premises, or for one-off occasions like weddings and birthday celebrations.
When do you need a special licence?
A special licence is required if alcohol is to be sold and supplied:
- at any event not covered by an existing on-licence or club-licence
- at any event or any unlicensed premises such as a local hall or conveyance (boat or bus)
- at an event in a club’s premises where non-members are present
- outside the hours or area authorised on an existing on-licence or club-licence.
For a special licence to apply the event must involve people sharing a common interest and the purpose of the event should be something other than the consumption of alcohol.
You can apply in advance for multiple occasions if the event dates are known. These must be related events, held on the same premises.
Examples of a series of one-off functions would be:
- a three-day event where you may wish to sell or supply alcohol on each of the days
- a social club that holds drinks on the last Friday of each month.
A special licence is required for a private social gathering, like a wedding or birthday party, in the following circumstances:
- if there is a sale and supply of alcohol
- the function is being held in licensed premises outside of the hours or conditions of that licence
- the function is being held in unlicensed premises.
Do I need a certified manager?
Not always. The alcohol licensing inspector will make a recommendation on whether you need a person who holds a manager’s certificate to attend your event and be responsible for compliance with the licence.
If you do not need a certified manager a person will be named on the licence who has been deemed responsible for the sale and supply of alcohol.
Apply for a special licence
Complete your application online.
Special licences take up to 20 working days to process, so make sure you apply at least 20 working days before the event.