Retail liquor merchant's licence
A retail liquor merchant licence allows you to sell takeaway liquor only, such as bottle shops, but it also allows you to provide samples of liquor to your customers.
The bottle shop needs to be physically separate from other shops or businesses, and can only sell liquor or related products - eg glasses, bottle openers, gift bags, chips, nuts.
If you want to operate a general store (or similar) in a regional area, you can apply for an exemption to be able to sell liquor from that store if it is not viable to have a separate shop.
A significant part of a retail liquor merchant licence application is the requirement for you to prove that there is a need, within the area, for a bottle shop to exist
You can trade any day between 8.00 am and 9.00 pm.
If authorised by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner, you can can begin trade between 5.00 am and midnight, but trading cannot exceed 13 continuous hours.
Before you begin
To apply for a retail liquor merchants licence you will need:
- to lodge a submission detailing why there is a need, within the area, for a retail liquor licence to exist. You will need to take into account any other businesses which sell liquor in the area
- a floor plan of the venue - how to submit a plan for a licensed venue (PDF 344KB)
- a copy of the lease agreement and permission from the landlord if you don't own the property
- a certificate of title if you own the property
- to determine whether you are applying as
- an individual
- a partnership
- a company
- a trustee of a trust or incorporated association
- a copy of the partnership agreement
- an ASIC extract
- an incorporated association constitution including a list of committee members
- a copy of the relevant trust deed
and provide the following documents where applicable:
- to determine who holds a position of authority within your corporate structure or trust and lodge a personal identification declaration (PID) to have those persons approved
- a capacity assessment from:
- the council
- a private certifier
- a registered architect.
The capacity for your venue may also be stated as part of your development approval or certificate of occupancy. If you do not submit a capacity assessment limit will be set as one person per square metre.
How to apply
Complete the online application
Email, post or in person
1. Print, complete and sign the relevant application forms and supporting evidence
- Retail liquor merchants licence application (PDF 115KB)
- Additional questionnaire for new licensees (PDF 104KB)
- Approval of a person application - liquor (PDF 235KB)
- Personal information declaration (PID) form (PDF 681KB)
2. Submit the application
Email the scanned forms to email@example.com
Post your application to:
GPO Box 2169
Adelaide SA 5001
Take your application to:
CBS Customer Service Centre
91 Grenfell Street
Responsible person or person in a position of authority
ID badge (if required)
Positions of authority
It is your responsibility to ensure that all people:
- who occupy a position of authority within your corporate structure/trust or,
- receive profits or proceeds from the business
are approved by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner.
Positions of authority include:
- a sole-trader or persons in a partnership
- directors and shareholders, including where a shareholder is a body corporate
- trustees and beneficiaries of the trust associated with the licensed entity
- committee members in the case of an incorporated association
- any person in the corporate structure which exercises influence or control over the business.
Minors who are shareholders in a proprietary company, or who are beneficiaries under a trust don't need approval.
Personal identification declarations (PIDs)
To be approved by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner each person must complete and lodge a personal identification declaration (PID) with the application.
If a person has already been approved in a position of authority under another current liquor or gaming licence in South Australia, a PID is only required if their circumstances have changed since their last approval.
The retail outlet will need to be supervised either by you, or a person approved by the commissioner as a responsible person, whenever you’re open for trade.
If the responsible person you want is already approved you do not need to do anything further.
If you don’t already have an approved responsible person you will need to apply to have someone approved. This application can be lodged together with your retail liquor merchant application.
A PID must be completed and lodged together with your responsible person application.
If your retail outlet is small and you’re only planning to trade short hours a few days a week, you may be able to get an exemption from the requirement to have a responsible person managing your business when you are not there.
Once you have submitted your application, a case manager will advise you of the date it will be considered.
At least seven days before this date you must:
- provide a copy of the permit issued by your local council if you intend to apply for extension of trading area - the permit must be in the applicant’s name
- provide any development approvals from council
- if you do not have development approval but have been granted planning consent from local council the Commissioner can grant you a certificate if the venue isn’t finished, then grant the licence once the venue is complete. There is no additional application to convert your certificate into a licence.
More detailed information on the process and requirements of applying for a liquor licence is provided in the Practice Direction (PDF 1.2MB)
What happens next
A copy of your application will be sent to South Australian police licensing enforcement branch.
Notification of your application will also be put on the CBS website and made available to the public. Your case manager will contact you to let you know whether you need to:
- display a notification on the premises
- notify your local council.
You will be asked to provide evidence that you have completed both of these.
If all the approvals are in place and there are no objections, the application process will take approximately six to eight weeks.
As notice of your application is made public any person may object if they have a reason to do so - for example, if your neighbours think that your business is going to be noisy, or have an impact on the neighbourhood.
The police and council may also intervene in your application if there are concerns about public safety and disturbance, or if there are concerns about the fitness and propriety of any person.
If someone objects to your application you will:
- receive a copy of the objection form, which will usually explain the objection
- be invited to take part in a conciliation conference with the objector and the commissioner or a delegate, usually held at CBS in the Adelaide CBD.
The conciliation conference is not a formal process and there's no need to be represented by a lawyer, but you may choose to do so if you think it's necessary.
At the conciliation conference:
- the delegate will ask you to explain exactly what your application is all about, how you wish to trade and so on
- the objectors will explain their concerns
- the delegate will help the parties reach an agreement
- the delegate can explain what the law means and clarify any misunderstandings the parties may have but cannot provide you with legal advice.
If the objectors and you fail to come to an agreement, the delegate can't make a decision and the matter will be referred to a hearing.
A hearing can take place before a delegate or the commissioner if all parties agree, otherwise it will be heard by the licensing court.
At a hearing before a delegate or the commissioner:
- you will be able to put your case forward
- the objectors can explain their concerns
- the delegate or commissioner will make a decision on the application.
If your matter goes before the licensing court, more information will be provided by the court.