Depending on your situation, you can apply for two different types of liquor licences to operate a pub.
For the requirements and more information, see Things to consider before applying.
Applicants are advised to lodge liquor licence applications at least eight weeks in advance. The time taken to process an application will vary depending on a range of factors including the complexity of the application and any objections which may be raised.
A general licence authorises the supply of liquor for consumption both on and off the licensed premises.
Any business with appropriate planning permission that wishes to supply alcohol for consumption on the premises, as well as to take away for consumption off the premises. Pubs, hotels and some taverns would normally hold a general licence.
To apply for a general licence, download and complete the *General licence application kit (PDF, 1.34 MB). Details on how to lodge your completed application are included in the kit.
A late night (general) licence authorises the supply of alcohol for on-premises and off-premises consumption after 1am.
Businesses wishing to trade on a general licence past 1am.
Please note that there is currently a freeze on late night licence applications in the Local Government Areas of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra. For more information, see Late night freeze.
To apply for a general licence, download and complete the *Late night (general or on-premises) licence application kit (PDF, 1.88 MB). Details on how to lodge your completed application are included in the kit.
Transcript for General licences video.
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Events such as fetes, markets and festivals can often include the supply of liquor by more than one party. This may include licensees seeking to supply liquor that they have produced themselves or where several businesses have been engaged to supply liquor to attendees. The most common licensing arrangements for multiple suppliers at an event are outlined in the scenarios below.
Scenario 1: Both the event organiser and individual suppliers are already licensed.
In this scenario the event organiser can apply for a temporary limited licence, or if the event involves more than 5000 patrons, a major event licence.
Individual suppliers at the event would also apply for a temporary limited licence, or a major event licence, allowing the licensee to supply liquor at the point of sale (such as from a booth or similar) for consumption in the area licenced by the event organiser.
The event organiser is responsible for maintaining an environment that encourages and ensures liquor is consumed responsibly within the event. The event organiser is also responsible for submitting a red line plan as part of their application. The event organiser’s responsibilities might include engaging crowd controllers, providing barriers to licensed areas, and ensuring that persons aged under 18 either do not enter the premises or are clearly identifiable as being underage if they do.
Individual suppliers who attend the event are not required to submit a red-line plan with their application, but they are responsible for ensuring that they supply liquor in a responsible manner.
Importantly, in this scenario both the event organiser and the individual suppliers can be held liable for any breaches of their responsibilities as licensees.
Scenario 2: Only the event organiser is licensed
In scenario 2 the event organiser can obtain a temporary limited licence or major event licence that covers all liquor supplied at the event. This means that the event organiser is responsible for ensuring that the supply of liquor occurs responsibly and they must also maintain an environment that encourages the responsible consumption of liquor.
At events licensed in this way suppliers can display their products however, they must not supply any liquor directly to patrons. As the event organiser is the only licensee, they are the only business or person which can supply liquor to patrons.
In this scenario, if individual suppliers supply liquor to the event organiser who in turn supplies liquor to patrons, the supplier must ensure that they already have a permanent licence which allows them to do this.
Scenario 3: Only suppliers (not event organiser) are licensed
For some events, like a small daytime market or school fete, it may be possible for only the individual suppliers to be licensed.
In this scenario individual suppliers should apply for a temporary limited licence that allows for point of sale supply and there is no need for the event organiser to have a liquor licence. Individual suppliers will be responsible for ensuring that liquor is supplied in a responsible manner and a red line plan is not required.
It should be noted that this scenario can only apply if the event occurs in a space where the consumption of liquor is already permitted.
If you are unsure which licence you need for your event, phone 1300 182 457 or email email@example.com