Published: 17 October 2013
Q: In a pub or bar where precisely does the sale of alcohol take place?
A: A sale takes place when the alcohol is ‘specifically selected’ for the customer, for example by taking a bottle of beer out of a fridge, pulling a draft pint, or holding a shot glass up to an optic. The location of the optic, the beer fridge or the hand-pulls must therefore be within the area authorised for the sale of alcohol.
The sale of alcohol does not take place where (or indeed when) the contract is concluded or payment is made – the important thing to remember is that all those areas where you hold alcohol for immediate dispensing to a specific customer order are licensed. So, for example, your beer cellar would not necessarily need to be licensed unless you poured pints directly from casks or kegs in the beer cellar.
This distinction between where the contract is made and where the sale of alcohol is treated as taking place under the Licensing Act is more relevant to internet, telephone and mail order sales of alcohol where the warehouse could be many miles away from the office where the orders are taken, but it is worth remembering that anywhere where you have a mobile bar does need to be within the area authorised for the sale by retail of alcohol.
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