A Toast to Success: How to Acquire a Liquor License in South Africa

Starting a business in the alcohol industry can be a lucrative venture. However, before you can begin pouring drinks and celebrating your success, there are several steps you need to take to ensure that your business is operating legally. One of the essential steps is acquiring a liquor licence in South Africa. This article will guide you through the process of obtaining a liquor licence, helping you avoid any potential pitfalls and ensuring that your business can toast success!

Research the Requirements

The first step in acquiring a liquor licence is to research the specific requirements for your province. South Africa has nine provinces, each with its own liquor board and regulations. Visit the website of your provincial liquor authority or consult with a legal professional to ensure you understand the requirements.

Prepare the Necessary Documentation

To apply for a liquor licence, you’ll need to submit various documents, including:

  • A completed application form
  • Proof of identity (ID or passport)
  • Proof of business registration
  • Zoning certificate or written consent from the local municipality
  • A detailed business plan
  • A floor plan of the premises
  • Proof of advertising the application in local newspapers and on the premises

Ensure that all documentation is complete and accurate to avoid delays in the application process.

Submit Your Application

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, submit your application to the relevant provincial liquor authority. The application fee will vary depending on the type of licence and the province in which you’re applying.

Public Participation Process

After submitting your application, there will be a public participation process during which members of the public can object to the granting of the licence. If there are no objections, your application will proceed to the next stage.

Evaluation and Approval

The liquor authority will evaluate your application and, if successful, issue your liquor licence. This process can take anywhere from three months to over a year, depending on the province and the complexity of your application.

What If You Don’t Want to Start from Scratch?

If starting a new business from scratch seems daunting, you can consider looking for a liquor license for sale. Acquiring an existing business with a valid liquor licence can save you time and effort. However, ensure you conduct thorough due diligence before purchasing a business to avoid any potential legal issues.


Acquiring a liquor licence in South Africa requires research, preparation, and patience. By understanding the requirements and diligently following the process, you’ll be well on your way to a successful alcohol business.