Food and Alcohol Licenses

Food licenses

If your business involves handling meat, fish, egg or dairy products, you must be inspected and approved by your local council.

You don’t need to be inspected or approved if you sell direct to the public or retailers like caterers, pubs and restaurants, as long as:

  • food is less than 25% of your trade
  • you don’t handle any wild game meat products
  • you don’t sell food outside the county your business is registered in

You must still follow the rules for controlling the temperature and storage of any food you transport.

It’s a criminal offense to run unapproved food premises and you can be prosecuted for doing so.

Apply for a food license at:

Alcohol licenses 

Businesses, organisations and individuals who want to sell or supply alcohol in England and Wales must have a license or other authorisation from a licensing authority - usually a local council. The law and policy governing this area is overseen by the Home Office.

The types of businesses and organisations that need alcohol licenses might include:

  • pubs and bars
  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • nightclubs
  • late-opening cafes
  • takeaways
  • village and community halls
  • supermarkets

The types of licenses required are defined as follows:

  • any business or other organisation that sells or supplies alcohol on a permanent basis needs to apply for a premises licence
  • anyone who plans to sell or supply alcohol or authorise the sale or supply of alcohol must apply for a personal licence
  • qualifying members’ clubs (such as the Royal British Legion, working men’s clubs and rugby clubs) need to apply for a club premises certificate if they plan to sell or supply alcohol

To apply for a license, you will need to complete an application form and send it to your local council, along with the fee. You may also need to send copies of your form (depending on the type of application you are making) to the police and other ‘responsible authorities’.

You can apply online if your council accepts electronic applications, please use our licence finder to find the appropriate forms. 

You can read more about alcohol licensing here.

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