Don’t Fall Foul of Alcohol Licensing Laws

by Matthew Batham / June 19, 2017

HJ readers have reacted to recent reports in the national press that they could face fines of up to £20,000 for offering complimentary drinks without a licence.

Many of those commenting on Facebook were shocked to learn they could be in breach of the law by offering guests a free glass of fizz or a beer, without having a drinks licence.

The issue was brought to light by a recent statement issued by Staffordshire Police, which was picked up by several national newspapers.

“More and more businesses in Staffordshire could face a large fine as they are offering their customers alcohol as part of their experience without realising that they need a licence to do so,” read the statement. “Our licensing team has discovered quite a few hair and beauty salons are offering ‘free’ glasses of wine or champagne as part of a treatment, or, in some cases, as a customer is undergoing a treatment, the business then offers them a glass of wine at no extra cost. While this is well-intentioned and just part of the business trying to give the customer the best experience, it is also against the law if you do not have a licence to sell alcohol.

“At this stage we wanted to alert businesses to stop this practice going forward, otherwise we will have to begin enforcement on businesses we know are offering free alcohol. If a business is caught serving alcohol without a licence, they could face a £20,000 fine and/or six months imprisonment for the business owner.”

HJ advises all salon owners who offer complementary alcoholic drinks to research their local council’s policy on the practice.



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