When the supply of liquor is only a small part of the products and services on offer, some small businesses are exempt from the requirement of holding a liquor licence. This exemption extends to businesses such as bed and breakfasts, hairdressers, florists, gift makers, butchers, hospitals, residential care services, retirement villages and cruise ships. Minor businesses exempt from holding a liquor licence are not required to advise the VCGLR of their intention to supply liquor.
To be exempt from holding a liquor licence, you need to fulfil all the conditions for your business type. If you do not meet these requirements, you will be required to hold a liquor licence. Businesses that don't meet the criteria, but continue to supply liquor, will be considered by the VCGLR to be operating without a liquor licence. This is a very serious offence, potentially carrying a jail term of up to two years or a fine exceeding $35,000.
Requirements for a Bed and Breakfast exemption:
In order for your bed and breakfast business to be eligible for a minor business exemption, the following criteria must be met:
- the bed and breakfast business must not provide temporary accommodation or dormitory accommodation for more than eight adults in the course of that business
- must not supply more than 750ml of liquor in any one room per day
- liquor is not supplied to a minor
We also note that the proprietor no longer needs to be a permanent resident of the bed and breakfast premises under this particular exemption and no longer needs to complete an approved Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training program.
If your business no longer meets the criteria for exemption - for example, after expanding your bed and breakfast business to allow for accommodation for more than eight adults - you should apply for an appropriate liquor licence. Existing licences are still valid and businesses can still trade in accordance with the conditions on that licence, however, licensees who consider that they can adhere to the above mentioned criteria may choose to surrender their existing liquor licence and operate without a licence.
If you are not sure if your business is eligible for this small business exemption, we would encourage you to contact us to discuss your individual requirements.