WHEN SHOULD YOU APPLY FOR A LIQUOR LICENCE?

The Eastern Cape Liquor Act, 10 of 2003, (“ECLA”) applies to the province of the Eastern Cape and regulates the retail sale of liquor to persons over the age of 18 (eighteen) years by a registered person in respect of a registered premises.

No person shall sell liquor unless that person is registered in terms of the ECLA to sell liquor from a registered premises. A person includes a natural person (a human being), any divisional council, municipal council, village management board or like authority or any company incorporated or registered as such any under law or any body of persons corporate or unincorporated, as defined in the Interpretation Act, 33 of 1957.

Simply put, if you are the owner of a business that sells liquor from a premises, you must register as a retailer in terms of the ECLA in order for the Eastern Cape Liquor Board (“ECLB”) to issue you with a Certificate of Registration which will entitle your business to sell liquor from a registered premises to the public.

The ECLA recognises different categories of registration for purposes of selling liquor to the public. An application may be made via BLC Attorneys to the ECLB in respect of the following categories of registration:

  1. The retail sale of liquor for consumption on the premises where liquor is being sold;
  2. The retail sale of liquor for consumption off the premises where liquor is being sold;
  3. The retail sale and consumption of liquor on and off the premises where liquor is being sold;
  4. The retail sale and consumption of liquor at a special event; or
  5. Micro-manufacturing.

For example, if you own a restaurant that wishes to sell liquor to the public, the most appropriate category of registration will be an application to sell liquor for consumption on the registered premises where liquor is being sold. This restricts the consumption of liquor to the registered premises. The public will therefore not be allowed to purchase liquor from the registered premises and consume liquor off the registered premises. 

On the other hand, should you wish to operate a liquor store, the most appropriate category of registration will be an application to sell liquor for consumption off the registered premises where liquor is being sold. This restricts the consumption of liquor off the registered premises and no consumption of liquor may take place on the registered premises.  

Should you own a tavern (a “shebeen”), the most appropriate category of registration will be an application to sell liquor for consumption on and off the registered premises where liquor is being sold. An on and off consumption registration will be granted by the ECLB to persons that sell liquor should they be able to motivate why this particular category of registration should apply to them, as opposed to either an on or off consumption registration.

A special events category of registration will apply in instances where liquor is intended to be sold at a specific event for a specified duration of time. This category of registration is not permanent and only lasts for as long as the duration of the particular event.

A micro-manufacturing category of registration applies to persons who do not wish to sell liquor in respect of the categories outlined above but who wish to manufacture liquor from a registered premises and sell liquor to other retailers registered as such in terms of the ECLA. A micro-manufacturer of liquor is regarded as a person that manufactures liquor below the prescribed volume thresholds of liquor per annum. The prescribed annual thresholds are as follows: Beer – 100 million litres; Sorghum beer (traditional African beer) – 50 million litres; Wine – 4 million litres and Spirits – 2 million litres, respectively. A person must therefore manufacture liquor below the respective thresholds per annum to qualify to register with the ECLB as a micro-manufacturer of liquor.

BLC Attorneys offer a unique and specialised service in all aspects of liquor licencing, including the transfer of a liquor licence from one registered person to another registered person or from one registered person to a person who is not yet registered in terms of the ECLA to sell liquor to the public. It is imperative for a prospective applicant to also receive advice on other business compliance aspects outside of the application itself. Approach us today for a free quote for your prospective liquor licence application or transfer of liquor licence application.

Author: Blaine Saunders