• Andy Banner-Price

Being Licensed to Sell Alcohol


The 25 Boutique B&B is licensed to sell alcohol. You’ll find a lot of smaller B&Bs, guest houses and hotels which are not. However, some may be illegally selling or giving away alcohol.

There are costs involved in us being licensed, and these costs may be the reason why some places choose to either not sell alcohol, or flout the law. The profit on selling alcohol don’t always cover the annual costs of renewing the license. For us, it’s more about offering a service to our guests which they like on a legal basis rather than a money-making venture.

Before you can think about selling alcohol on a B&B premises, you need to become a Personal License Holder. That’s what I am and to become one I had to attend a one-day course and then complete an exam at the end of it. This is the same for all license holders, whatever their establishment, so my exam included nightclub managers, pub landlords and corner shop owners too. This is a one-off and your personal license does not need to be renewed.

Once you’ve paid for and attended this course, you can then apply for a Premises License which gives you permission to sell alcohol in a designated place – in our case at The 25 Boutique B&B. There may be restrictions in place on times and days for some businesses but as a B&B with guests coming and going at all times of the day, we’re pretty much able to sell all day. Some places, like nightclubs may have restrictions placed on them so their patrons are not rolling out drunk and making noise in a residential area past a certain time. They’ll also have issues with restricting underage drinkers and so on.

As I mentioned earlier, you can’t even give away alcohol without a license. This is because, if, as we do, you offer a complimentary welcome drink, it’s technically been paid for as it’s included in the price you’ve paid for the room.

We feel that having an alcohol license really adds to the experience of staying with us at The 25. When you arrive, what can be more enjoyable after a long journey than a cold beer or glass of wine on our terrace in the sun? It instantly relaxes the guests into their holiday.

They also get to enjoy my world-famous chocolate brownies! Many follow up by taking a gentle stroll down to the seafront via Torre Abbey – our nearest tourist attraction.

If guests fancy a drink at any time they can help themselves as we have an honesty bar in the Drawing Room with a small selection of beers, wines, Prosecco and soft drinks. They just write down what they take and it’s ideal for a pre-dinner drink whilst waiting for a taxi.

Many guests have joined the VIP guest list via our website. If they stay for two nights or more, one of the perks of being a VIP is that you get a free minibar in your room. What’s not to love? If we were staying here we’d enjoy a drink whilst getting ready for dinner, or maybe have a drink when we get back whilst watching a film on Netflix. (we’ve basically just created our own ideal place to stay!)

Of course, the other way we offer alcohol is when you make a booking – you can choose to add a bottle or wine, Prosecco or champagne and we’ll pop it in your room ready for your arrival. Sometimes friends or family may call and ask for this to be done along with a note if it’s a special occasion.

So, we may not have a traditional bar, (we ripped out the traditional bar along with red velvet bonquettes during our major refurbishment) but we still have a license and offer several opportunities for those who would like to enjoy an alcoholic drink whilst staying with us.

Will your B&B be licensed? Had you weighed up the pros and cons? Discuss this in more detail by joining my next training course.


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