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Do you need a liquor licence?

If you want to supply liquor within Victoria, you will need a liquor licence. The information below will help guide you through when a liquor licence is required and what kind of licence you may need.

Liquor is often sold or available at events or venues either as the main attraction, or as a gratuitous addition to the venue’s operations or the events happening.

A liquor licence or permit allows people to sell, control or possess liquor as part of a business or event. A liquor licence is generally required if liquor is sold directly or indirectly to people.

The information provided below is intended as a guide, and you should always seek external legal or specialist licensing advice if you are unsure or have specific questions.

When is a licence needed?

In most cases, a liquor licence or permit is required supply liquor. But, where the supply of liquor is gratuitous, you may not need a licence.

Gratuitous supply is when liquor is provided free of charge and with no requirement to give or exchange something in return. This includes money, goods, services or any future agreement that there will be an exchange.

Where someone has paid for liquor indirectly, such as part of a package or ticket to an event, a liquor licence is still required. 

Locations that always require a liquor licence

If the premises hired for an event is unlicensed and falls in one of the below categories, a licence is always needed:

  • A premises where meals are usually served to the public for consumption on the premises. For example, unlicensed restaurants or cafes
  • A premises occupied by a club, such as local sporting, social club or RSL
  • A premises where light refreshments and non-intoxicating drinks are sold to the public for consumption on the premises

Town halls with commercial kitchens do not fall into this category, as the premises is not ‘ordinarily’ used to serve food to the public.

Premises that cannot be licensed

Under liquor legislation certain premises cannot be licensed as they are considered a high risk or inappropriate to supply liquor. Primarily these venues may encourage drink driving or expose minors to liquor.

These include:

  • Drive-in cinemas
  • Petrol stations
  • Businesses located at or within highway service stations
  • Convenience stores
  • Locations that primarily used by people under the age of 18

Where we are concerned that you may be trying to licence such a venue, we will ask you for more information. This will include photos, information about all your products for sale and a detailed description of your business activities.


BYO permits give venues that don’t want to supply liquor on their premises the option to allow people bring their own liquor to consume on the premises. This applies specifically to restaurants, cafes, clubs and party buses for on-going businesses.

For one-off events, you do not require a permit to allow BYO liquor unless your event is happening at a location that always requires a liquor licence.

If this is the case you will need to apply for a temporary liquor licence.

If you already hold a liquor licence and your venue’s main activity is preparing and serving meals, such as a restaurant or a café, you do not need an additional licence or permit to allow people to BYO.

What licence do I need?

If you require a licence for your event or venue, the next decision you need to make is, what licence or permit do you need?

The category of licence or permit you need will change based on the nature of your event or business.

Please note: This is general advice and may not cover every situation. Where your situation is not addressed in the below or you require more specific guidance, you should seek external legal or specialist licensing advice.

Licences for one-off events or short seasons

If you are holding a one-off event or having a short season of events, you will need either a temporary limited licence or major event licence.

Licences and permits for on-going businesses

The below is relevant if you have an on-going business or an extended pop-up.

Next Steps

Once you’ve decided on the right licence type for you, you will need to lodge the right application, we have a page to assist you in completing your liquor licence application.