Types of liquor and wine licences and permits

In Queensland, liquor and wine licences and permits are regulated by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) in accordance with the Liquor Act 1992 and the Wine Industry Act 1994.

The type of liquor or wine licence or permit you need depends on the type of business or organisation you want to operate. Some businesses and community-based entities may be exempt from liquor licensing requirements.

The following types of liquor licences and permits are available in Queensland.

Commercial hotel licence

You'll need a commercial hotel licence to run a hotel or tavern. This licence allows you to sell alcohol for consumption on and off your premises.

Your business must have a commercial kitchen and at least 2 of the following facilities:

  • a dining, restaurant, or bistro-style facility
  • self-contained accommodation with at least 3 rooms for letting to travellers
  • a function room available for hire by the public.

It must also have seating for more than 60 patrons and adequate male and female toilets.

Detached bottle shops

Commercial hotel licensees can apply to operate up to 3 detached bottle shops away from their main premises.

Commercial–other licences

There are 6 types of commercial-other licences.

1. Subsidiary on-premises licence

If selling liquor for on-premises consumption is a secondary function of your business, you'll need a subsidiary on-premises licence.

Types of businesses that may require this licence include:

  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • motels
  • vessels
  • indoor sporting centres
  • theatres
  • amusement parks
  • function centres
  • training institutions.

Restaurant licensees must provide meals at their licensed premises as the principal activity of their business.

A meal is food that can be eaten with cutlery while seated—for example, roast beef with vegetables, lasagne, a stir-fry or a curry with rice. It is not light takeaway food like snacks, hot chips, an entrée or kid's meal.

To be considered the principal activity of the business:

  • meals must be provided daily
  • most patrons who attend the venue during a day will consume a meal
  • most of the premises will be set up for dining
  • the kitchen will be open up until 1 hour before closing the premises
  • there will be enough staff on site to prepare and serve meals.

2. Subsidiary off-premises licence

When selling liquor for off-premises consumption is a secondary function of your business, you'll need a subsidiary off-premises licence.

Types of businesses that may require this licence include florists or businesses that sell gift baskets (although, under some conditions, liquor licence exemptions may apply).

3. Bar licence

When your main business activity is selling liquor for consumption on a small licensed premises—with a maximum seating capacity of 60 patrons—you'll need a bar licence.

4. Industrial canteen licence

When the main function of your business is selling liquor to employees and their guests in remote industrial canteens that service mining, or road or rail constructions, you'll need an industrial canteen licence.

5. Producer/wholesaler licence

When production and/or wholesale of liquor on the licensed premises is the main function of your business—including wholesale to other licensees—you'll need a producer/wholesaler licence.

This licence type has conditions limiting the sale of liquor to the general public.

6. Artisan producer licence

You'll need an artisan producer licence when your main business function is the on-premises production of:

  • craft beer in volumes greater than 2,500L but less than 5 million litres in each financial year
  • artisan spirits in volumes greater than 400L but less than 450,000L in each financial year.

This licence type allows the sale of the craft beer or artisan spirits to the general public.

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Nightclub licence

When providing entertainment is your main business function, you'll need a nightclub licence. The entertainment must be provided by a person who is present on site—facilities like a jukebox or pool tables aren't considered entertainment.

Commercial special facility licence

A commercial special facility licence applies to casinos, airports, convention centres and other tourism businesses, excluding sporting facilities.

The business must make a significant contribution to Queensland's tourism development.

Community club licence

A community club licence applies to non-proprietary clubs (e.g. sporting clubs, RSLs and ethnic clubs). It allows members, their guests, reciprocal members and bona fide visitors to consume alcohol on the premises and take away alcohol.

If your club wants temporary approval to sell alcohol to the public at a one-off event, such as a festival, sporting event or fete, apply for a community liquor permit.

Complete the exemption self-assessment questionnaire to see if your organisation is exempt from requiring this permit.

Check responsible service of alcohol (RSA) exemptions for community-based groups.

Community–other licence

A community–other licence allows a club to trade for set hours, up to a maximum of 25 hours a week. This licence is only suitable for clubs that operate year round.

It applies to non-proprietary clubs that are incorporated associations (such as sporting clubs) or unincorporated associations with an individual holding the licence on the association's behalf.

Community–other licence holders approved to trade 25 hours per week, who want to extend their hours for a one-off event, will need to apply for a community liquor permit and a temporary change to licensed area.

Clubs who share a clubhouse with another licensee can apply for a restricted liquor permit, which will allow them to trade for a maximum of 10 hours, or between 10 and 25 hours, a week, for either 3 or 6 months.

Wine licences

There are 2 types of wine licences available under the Wine Industry Act 1994:

  1. a wine producer licence, which allows you to operate a vineyard or winery where you can sell the wine you make
  2. a wine merchant licence, which allows you to conduct a business that contributes to Queensland's wine industry in a substantial way—for example, you might use Queensland fruit to make wine on another premises, or blend different wines to create a unique wine in the state and sell it to the public.

Approved wine nominee

You'll need an approved wine nominee if you (as an individual wine licensee) hold more than 1 licence or if your business is an organisation or partnership. The wine nominee must be present on the premises covered by the wine licence.

Satellite cellar door approval

Wine producer licensees can also apply for satellite cellar door approval to sell or give away their wine on another premises.

Permits for one-off events

If you want to sell or supply alcohol at a public or promotional event you may need one of these permits.

If you hold an eligible liquor licence and want to cater away from your main premises at public events, such as festivals or trade shows, (not private functions), you'll need a licence endorsement to cater off-site and a commercial public event permit.

Eligible licensees are:

  • commercial hotel licensees
  • nightclub licensees
  • commercial-other subsidiary on-premises licensees
  • commercial-other subsidiary off-premises licensees.

The endorsement to cater off-site allows you to cater at private functions that are organised by other people and held away from your licensed premises. The commercial public event permit will allow you to cater at any commercial public events.

Interstate craft brewery operators may be eligible to apply for a craft beer or artisan producer permit. The permit will allow you to sell your craft beer or artisan liquor at a promotional event in Queensland—either for a one-off occasion, or regularly for up to 3 months.

You can sell samples for consumption at the event. Sample sizes are restricted to 150ml for craft beer or 15ml for artisan liquor, unless otherwise approved. The price of samples is not regulated.

The total volume of takeaway sales is 9L per person for craft beer, or 1.5L per person for artisan liquor, unless otherwise approved.

If you hold a Queensland wine producer or wine merchant licence and want to sell your wine at a one-off event—such as a farmer's market or trade show—to promote your own wine or a region, you can apply for a wine permit.

A wine permit allows you to:

  • sell your own wine for takeaway from the event
  • sell or give your wine away as a sample for consumption at the event.

If you hold a wine merchant licence, your wine must be made entirely from fruit grown by you, on your licensed premises.

If you hold a wine producer licence, at least 85% of your wine must be made from fruit grown by you, on your licensed premises.

Approval to serve alcohol in public places

If your business is planning an event in a public place where people intend to drink, such as an outdoor wedding or festival, you'll first need to check with your local council if you need to apply for a liquor licence or permit.

Adult entertainment permits

You must have an adult entertainment permit if you want to offer sexually explicit entertainment in addition to serving alcohol on your licensed premises.

Read more about adult entertainment permits.

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