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There are six different kinds of alcohol licenses in South Africa.

Reference: Published by Scorpion Legal Protection, 30 March 2023

You require a liquor licence, also known as an alcohol licence, liquor permit, or liquor licence certificate, in order to sell alcohol in South Africa, whether it is on a one-time basis or as a business. Scorpion describes the six license categories you can apply for.

Common liquor licenses

These are long-term permits to sell alcoholic beverages in South Africa.

  1. Micro-manufacture, both for consumption on- and off-site: a permit to sell and micro-manufacture alcohol for consumption on and off the location of the sale. Examples include a vineyard, winery, brewery, and distillery.
  2. Onsite consumption: a permit authorizing the sale of alcohol for consumption on the specific location of the sale. Restaurants, coffee shops, inns, hotels, shebeens, and bars are a few examples.
  3. Offsite consumption: a permit that enables you to sell alcohol both on-site and online. However, the alcohol must be removed and consumed elsewhere. Online sales are two examples.
  4. On- and offsite consumption (only under exceptional circumstances): A licence allowing customers to consume alcoholic drinks with a meal, but also purchase closed bottles of liquor for consumption off the premises. Example: Deli, restaurant.

Temporary alcohol permits

There are two types of temporary liquor licenses in addition to permanent ones.

  1. Standard temporary license: This permit is required when you want to sell your alcoholic beverages from a separate, temporary location while still having a valid permanent liquor license. You could want to sell your beer at a festival, for instance. A temporary liquor license may be issued for up to 14 days in a row, but it may not be extended for more than 30 days in a year.
  2. Event licence: If you want to sell alcohol at an event you’re sponsoring, such as a festival or fundraiser, you need this license. You will require a liquor license as the event’s host (the individual sellers at your event will need their own, separate licence). This indicates that you don’t typically sell alcohol, that is, you’re not in the business, and your event is one-time only. Everyone who is at least 18 years old and is not barred from applying for an event liquor license.