Events and occasions

To sell alcohol at events and occasions, you need to apply for a special licence. Check out the chart below to find out if a special licence for alcohol is required for your event.


Examples of situations when you’ll need a special licence to sell or supply alcohol include:

  • festivals
  • concerts
  • sporting events
  • bus trips
  • ticketed events
  • functions in a public venue where
  • public access is not restricted

You do not need a special licence when:

  • you are supplying liquor to your guests in your own private residence
  • your guests are bringing liquor to your own private residence
  • you are holding a genuine private social gathering in a public facility such as a hall and you are supplying liquor to your guests, as long as the public is not able to access the event

Special licences are required to be considered by the medical officer of health, the police and licensing inspectors.

The application must be filed at least 20 working days before the event, however people should file the application even earlier to help ensure it is processed in time.

Applications can be considered in less than 20 working days if the event is unexpected (for example, a funeral). The District Licencing Committee will decide if the event could have been foreseen.

Special licences

Summer events

If you’re holding an event this holiday season that requires a special alcohol licence, make sure you apply as soon as possible or it may not be processed in time. If you’re organising an event this Christmas and New Year and you’re selling or supplying alcohol, you may need a special licence unless your caterer holds an alcohol licence for events.

Applications for a special licence must be lodged at least 20 working days before the event is held (although exceptions may be made for unforeseen events). Please remember that working days do not include weekends, statutory holidays or any day from 19 December 2022 – 15 January 2023.

Special licence application deadlines are as follows

November 2022 events by Friday 14 October 2022

December 2022 events by Friday 28 October 2022

January and February 2023 events by 18 November 2022

Fees and further information

Special licence fees

In most cases, the fee depends on the size and number of events covered by the special licence. For more information please see our forms & fees page

6 December 2022

Further information about alcohol safety