England and Wales
Businesses, organisations and individuals who want to sell or supply alcohol must have a licence or other authorisation from a licensing authority - usually a local council.
You will either need a premise or a personal licence. In some cases you may need a club premises certificate, if you are a qualifying members’ clubs.
While you are not required to have a personal licence to be employed in a pub or other business that sells alcohol, premises licensed to sell alcohol must have a designated premises supervisor, who holds a personal licence. Personal licences allow you to sell alcohol on behalf of any business that has a premises licence or club premises certificate.
In Scotland, you will first have to contact your council to apply for a premises licence if you want to carry out ‘licensable activities’ from a particular venue. This includes selling and serving alcohol and providing entertainment.
When you want to sell alcohol on a licensed premises, the sale must be authorised generally or specifically by a Personal Licence Holder. This means that the designated premises manager must possess a personal licence. In many premises, other members of staff also attain personal licences so that they can also authorise sales, conduct staff training, and as a matter of general best practice.
As this is a considerable responsibility, Personal Licence Holders have to:
undergo refresher training every 5 years to refresh their knowledge of the licensing regime, and send their training certificate to the relevant Licensing Board; and
apply to renew their personal licence every ten years, and lodge the renewal application no later than 3 months before expiry date of the licence.