If you want to sell alcohol online in the UK, there are a few things you need to do in order to comply with the law.
First, you need to be licensed. Once you have your licenses: personal and premises, make sure you display it clearly on your website so that customers can see you’re authorised to sell alcohol.
Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, you are liable to penalty or prosecution if you buy from an unlicensed wholesaler so check the wholesaler’s Unique Registration Number (URN) against the HMRC online database.
This will involve completing an application form and paying a fee. Once you have been granted a license, you need to ensure you are only selling alcohol to customers who are over 18.
How can you verify someone is at least 18 years of age online?
You need an age disclaimer that asks the person viewing the page to verify they are at least 18 and you will need to make sure the delivery driver knows to ask for identification.
That’s all there is to it but remember not to try and be cute about this. Everything online is recordable and you could easily land yourself in hot water with the law. Don’t take the chance, it’s up to you to make sure you don’t sell to anyone under 18.
What to avoid
There are some restrictions on what types of alcohol you can sell. For example, you can’t sell alcohol that’s been made with methylated spirits or any other type of alcohol that’s not fit for human consumption.
You also can’t sell alcohol that’s been mixed with anything else, like water or soft drinks unless they’ve come like that from the supplier like pre-mixed cocktails. So before you start stocking alcohol, make sure you check the rules and regulations around what alcohol you can sell.
Some payment gateways can be funny about alcohol. The main payment gateways are apple pay, stripe, paypal.
We recommend paypal because they both allow alcohol sales and are well trusted. It’s no good having only apple pay if your viewer is using an android device and we generally avoid stripe as they can be strange about certain products. Remember most online dealings are done by mobile devices these days.
Thanks for reading! We hope this blog post was helpful. If you have any questions about alcohol ecommerce or anything else, feel free to contact us directly. We’re always happy to help!