Ongoing issues that should be checked for liquor licensing compliance from time to time include:
The identity of the licensee
While this seems obvious, licences can be held in individual names, or by partnerships, or companies. From time to time, you may re-evaluate or re-arrange your business structure – it is important to make sure that licences are in the appropriate names – that is, that of the person or entity that owns the wine which is to be sold.
You may also need to notify the licensing authority if you change the business name under which the business is operated.
Approval of persons
If your licence is held by a company, any changes in directors or shareholders may need to be notified to, and approved by, the relevant authority (and, usually, in advance). Any change in managers (or other senior employees involved with the business) may also require a formal application to the authority for approval of the new personnel.
Finally, in some instances, changes to beneficiaries of any trusts in the shareholding structure may require notification to or approval by the licensing authority.
Physical changes to premises
If you intend to renovate or upgrade your licensed premises, you may need to make a formal application to amend the licence, particularly if the floor plan or layout changes.
You should also give ongoing consideration to the issue of relevant planning and development approvals – while not strictly related to liquor licensing issues, the liquor licensing authorities will usually require evidence of all necessary approvals being in place, and the local Council having no objections, before approving changes to the licensed premises (and/or to other trading conditions).
Responsible service of alcohol/ staff training
You should ensure that all relevant staff (and, in particular, any new staff as they join your business) have the appropriate training as required by the licensing authority, and that appropriate plans, operations manuals and the like are prepared and maintained as required.
In some cases, temporary permits or limited licences are required for special events (functions, festivals and the like), whether on the licensed premises or at “off-site” locations. In a number of jurisdictions, recent changes to the licensing laws allow for conditions to be added to a winery’s licence to authorise particular repeated “off site” sales (such as at farmer’s markets and the like).
It is worth checking your licence and the options in your local jurisdiction, and otherwise making sure that you make any necessary applications for limited licences or temporary approvals for special events, as far in advance as possible.
Other conditions / restrictions
Beyond the question of “what wine can be sold”, there are numerous other “general” obligations imposed on all licensees, and, often, particular conditions or restrictions on individual licences. Express conditions on the licence often include, for example, permitted hours or days of operation, locations at which wine stocks may be stored, and entertainment, noise, and capacity limits.
It is important to regularly check that you have displayed, or kept on the premises as necessary, all of the required documents (including, for example, plans of the premises, and any required registers of training or copies of Codes of Conduct and the like) and signage (such as your liquor licence, and any other signs or notices regarding liquor service).