IMPORTANT NOTICE: Stage 3 restrictions are currently still in place. For more information, see:COVID-19 information for licensees
Some small businesses are not required to have a liquor licence when supplying liquor. There are strict conditions regarding these exemptions.
Minor businesses exempt from holding a liquor licence are not required to advise the VCGLR of their intention to supply liquor.
When the supply of liquor is only a small part of the products and services on offer, businesses are exempt from holding a liquor licence. This includes businesses such as bed and breakfasts, hairdressers, florists, gift makers, butchers, hospitals, residential care services, retirement villages and cruise ships.
To be exempt from holding a liquor licence, you need to fulfil all the conditions for your business type.
To find out the specific criteria for these businesses, see below.
If you do not meet the below requirements, you will be required to hold a liquor licence. See What liquor licence do I need? for more information.
Businesses that don't meet the criteria, but continue to supply liquor, will be considered to be operating without a liquor licence. This is a very serious offence carrying a jail term of up to two years or a fine exceeding $35,000.
If your business no longer meets the criteria for exemption - for example, after expansion your bed and breakfast business now provides accommodation for more than eight adults - you should apply for an appropriate liquor licence.
To be exempt from holding a liquor licence you need to fulfil all the conditions for your business type on an ongoing basis. If you do not meet the requirements, you will no longer be exempt. This means you will be supplying liquor without a licence, which is a serious offence and attracts a maximum fine of more than $35,000 or two years imprisonment.
To be eligible, the following conditions apply:
For the purposes of the exemption, a florist or gift maker business is one where the primary purpose is to sell flowers, food or other products that are packaged as, or intended to be, gifts.
For the purpose of the exemption, a hairdresser can be a business that provides hairdressing or barber services.
For the purpose of the exemption, a butcher must have as its primary function the retail sale of raw meat or fish for human consumption, but does not include where meat is sold for consumption on the premises.
A cruise ship is now exempt from the requirement to hold a liquor licence for the supply of liquor, if:
Hospital, residential care services and retirement villages are now exempt from the requirement to hold a licence to supply liquor, providing that the recipient is a resident, or patient of the hospital or a visitor of a resident or patient.
There are certain stipulations that these businesses must adhere to under the exemption which are:
Please note the following definitions:
As defined in the Health Services Act 1998:
As defined in the Retirement Villages Act 1986:
Existing licences are still valid and businesses can still trade in accordance with the conditions on that licence.
However, licensees may choose to surrender their existing liquor licence and operate without a licence, if they meet the requirements outlined above.
See Surrender a licence or permit for more information.