How to get an off licence for your shop or supermarket

The current price of a Liquor Licence is approximately €42,500.

What planning permission is required to sell alcohol?

The Planning and Development Regulations 2005, which came into effect on 14 July 2005, mean that it is no longer possible to use a bare retail planning permission for a premises to be licensed with a full off-licence, i.e. an off licence which sells wine, beer and spirits. Planning permission for off sales is required. This is a very complex planning application. Compton Solicitors can assist in sourcing an appropriate architect countrywide for your project.

How do I get a full off-licence for my shop?

A full spirit, beer and wine retailer’s off-licence allows for the sale of wine, beer, spirits and cider for consumption off the premises. This type of licence must be obtained by way of an application to your local District Court. A person applying for a full off-licence must at the same time extinguish one existing licence and that licence can be a publicans licence or another off-licence from anywhere in the State. In order to purchase the consent of the holder of an existing licence to the extinguishment of their licence you can expect to pay approximately €42,500 at present. Compton Solicitors can source the appropriate licence as part of our full licensing service. (See Liquor Licensing main page). Notice of the hearing date of an application must be published in a daily newspaper at least three weeks before the court date.

How do I know if my proposed premises is suitable?

In relation to the suitability of the premises, in licensing cases the Court must ensure that the premises complies with other laws relevant to planning and building control. You must prove to the Court that you have the required planning permission for your building and the type of business you are carrying on and that the building complies with all fire safety regulations. You will require an architect in Court to give evidence confirming that the appropriate planning permission and fire safety certificate is in place. Your architect must also prepare a set of detailed licensing plans for the Court and the Gardaí. You may find that your building needs some modification before it can be considered a fit and suitable premises to be licensed. This is something you should bear in mind when considering the cost of an application.

The Voluntary Code on the Display and Sale of Alcohol in Mixed Trading Premises

In order to avoid the commencement into law of section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 which required the display and sale of all liquor (except wine) to be confined to a part of the premises which is structurally separate from the remainder of the premises and accessed by a door, gate or turnstile, the Irish retail industry has agreed a voluntary code on the display and sale of alcohol with the Minister for Justice.

Most District Courts when considering new off licence application will require evidence that the layout of the shop conforms to the requirements of the voluntary code. Any retailer who is not familiar with the requirements of the code can either log on to the Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland (RRAI) website at www.rrai.ie or email Lorraine Compton at lorraine.compton@comptonsolicitors.ie to be sent an explanatory note and checklist to see if their premises complies. It should be noted that The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015, if passed into law, may introduce the requirement to separate the display of alcohol in shops.

What about objectors?

If the Gardaí or local residents object to the application, this may cause a delay and an increase in the cost of the application process. The Court will not be able to hear the application on the date on which it is listed but will be given a special date for the hearing of the objectors’ case. If it is local residents that are objecting, the needs of persons residing in the neighbourhood will become a significant factor for the Court to consider. An objection may be brought on the grounds that there is already an adequate number of licensed premises in the neighbourhood or that a shop selling alcohol will be inappropriate in a particular area. At Compton Solicitors, we have extensive experience in dealing with licensing objections to new applications and objections to the renewal of licences.

Do you want to sell wine only?

For licensing purposes “wine” is defined as wine imported into the State and includes sherry. A wine retailer’s off-licence is the licence which should be obtained by convenience stores and shops for the sale of wine and sherry for consumption off the premises. Since July 2008, in order to obtain a wine licence for your shop, you must apply to your local District Court for a wine retailer’s off licence certificate. If granted by the Court, this certificate will enable you to obtain a wine licence from customs and excise on payment of a fee of €500. This licence must then be renewed annually through customs and excise.

What staffing issues should be considered before licensing a shop?

The staff age profile of many shops can be very young. Under the Intoxicating Liquor Act a person under the age of eighteen cannot sell alcohol. In practical terms, this means that if a customer wants to buy a number of articles for example, a carton of milk, a paper and a bottle of wine, then a sixteen-year-old operating the cash register cannot complete that sale. The sixteen-year-old could take money from the customer for the milk and paper and ring those sales up on the register, but a staff member over the age of eighteen must deal with the purchase of the alcohol. Compton Solicitors provide full alcohol sale training programmes for all clients.

Why choose us?

Liquor Licensing is a complex and multi-faceted process.
We pride ourselves on providing a simple, non-technical road map with a speedy timeline for completion of the project.   Along the way, we will liaise directly with architects and accountants to leave you free to concentrate on your business.
See Liquor Licensing main page

This document is intended to provide a general overview and guidance on a particular topic. It is provided wholly without any liability or responsibility on the part of Compton Solicitors and does not replace the necessity to obtain specific legal advice.

For more information contact:

Lorraine Compton
T: +353 86 253 4651
E: lorraine.compton@comptonsolicitors.ie

Fiona Tonge
T: +353 89 471 4128
E: Fiona.tonge@comptonsolicitors.ie

© Compton Solicitors 2020