“Our school wants to host an Oktoberfest as a fundraiser. We don’t have a bar or liquor licence. One of our school parents owns a liquor store and can provide the alcohol for the event. However, he says we need to get a special licence to sell alcohol at the event. Is this so, and if so, how would we have to go about getting such a licence?”
Most people aren’t aware that they have to apply for a liquor licence for a special event where alcohol will be sold. But yes, to hold such an Oktoberfest fundraiser will require that you obtain a special events liquor licence, which grants you the right to sell alcohol at your event during the periods for which the licence is valid.
According to the Free State Gambling and Liquor Act one can only apply for a special events licence to sell alcohol at a once-off event if you have a pre-existing liquor licence. This will require that the school either have an existing liquor licence or must piggy-back on the licence of another, such as the parent with the liquor store.
Applying for this licence requires the completion of an FSLA4 Form by the applicant requesting the special licence. This form can be obtained from the offices of the Free State Liquor Board and must be accompanied by the following supporting documentation:
• A pre-existing liquor license (such as that of the school or parent with a liquor store).
• A written representation from the applicant regarding the event explaining the reason for the licence, including information about the event such as the organiser, location, expected attendance, type of alcohol that will be sold, control measures to ensure alcohol is not taken off the premises etc. The more detail provided, the better.
• Proof of payment of the prescribed non-refundable application fee of R1000.00 for the special events licence that must be paid with the application, as well as a daily fee of R250 for each day that the event will take place.
• Should your event exceed 2500 people, there will also have to be police risk categorisation of the event. Likewise, as in your case where the event is being held at a school, the school governing body will have to issue a letter providing permission for the event to include the selling of alcohol.
Once the Liquor Board has received the application, they will consider the granting of the licence. In doing so they may request the local municipality and the local community police to put forward any comments they may have regarding the application within seven business days from the date they receive the request for comments. Should any negative comments be received the Liquor Board must notify the applicant and allow him seven days to reply.
If no negative comments are received, the application will generally be successful, in which case the Liquor Board will issue the applicant with a Form FSLA5 registration certificate confirming the special events licence. In addition, the Liquor Board will notify the local municipality and police of the issued registration certificate.
It should be noted that in general the normal rules applying to the sale of alcohol will apply to special events of this nature, such as not selling alcohol to minors, not allowing alcohol to be consumed outside the designated premises, etc.
There is no set period for the application process, but it is recommended that your application be submitted at least 14 days prior to the event so as to avoid any unnecessary delays that may arise during the application process. It is always useful to obtain legal assistance to help ensure that the application is done correctly and submitted timeously with the necessary supporting information.