Before you start

Applying for an alcohol licence is usually one of many things you need to do when you start a business that sells liquor.

Get prepared before you apply

Getting an alcohol licence is just one thing you need to do when you open a new business. To keep everything running smoothly, make sure you've taken these steps before you start your application.

If you're doing building work 

You need your building consent (and resource consent if required) approved before you can apply for an alcohol licence.

Building and resource consents

You don't need to have completed the building work or received a code compliance certificate to apply for an alcohol licence – as part of your application, you'll order certificates to show you either have building and resource consents, or don't need them.

Supporting documents for a new alcohol licence application

If you plan to sell food 

If you plan to prepare and sell food to your customers, you will also need to apply for a certificate of registration to sell food.

Selling food

Decide on your duty managers

You'll need to provide the names of people you intend to use as duty managers (and copies of their manager's certificates if they weren't issued in Wellington City).

If an intended duty manager doesn't already have a manager's certificate, they can't apply for one until your alcohol licence application has been submitted – this is because their manager's certificate has to name the place they'll be working. Applying for a manager's certificate takes at least 30 working days.

Apply for a new manager's certificate

Talk to your community

To avoid public objections, we recommend letting your neighbours and the wider community know your plans for the business. For example, how you plan to control noise and how you will promote responsible drinking.

Other things you might need to do

As part of opening a business that sells alcohol, you might also need:

  • pavement permission to have seating on the footpath or on public land
  • a consent for trade waste.

You need to apply for new consents and permissions even if you're buying an existing business that currently has them.

Outdoor seating

Trade waste

If you run a club and it is on Wellington City Council land, you may need to get consent first from the Council department responsible for the land.

Need help?

You can meet with an alcohol licensing inspector for free. They're available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm.

Alcohol Licensing 
Phone: 04 801 3760

Meet with an alcohol licensing inspector