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Serving alcohol in your salon or barber shop

Needing a licence for serving alcohol in your salon or barber shop may not even cross your mind – but even if you’re just giving a complimentary glass of prosecco, if it’s alongside a paid-for service it is considered as part of the sale and therefore you need a licence.

serving alcohol in your business

Which licences do I need when serving alcohol in my salon?

Get in contact with your local council if you’re thinking about serving alcohol in your salon or barber shop. They will be able to provide you with the correct advice for your local area and the application forms to start the process.

You will also need the two following licences:

  • A personal licence

This is a licence which authorises the salon owner/manager to sell alcohol. Once you receive your personal licence, you will become the ‘designated premises supervisor’, which means the person in charge of drinks sales.

You will also need a ‘National Certificate for Personal Licence Holders’. You can do this inexpensively on a one-day course or with an online course available from many providers. You need this to be aware of licensing law and the wider social responsibilities involved in the sale of alcohol.

  • A premises licence

This is a licence for the salon itself, which can cost between £100 and £635, depending on the rateable value of your business. You will also need to renew and pay for this licence each year.

Still unsure on which licence you may need? NHF Members have access to our free round the clock legal helpline and specialist advice if you thinking of introducing selling alcohol as part of your services.

Implications of serving alcohol without a licence

If you serve alcohol without a licence the penalties can be stiff. You can be fined up to £20,000 and even sent to jail for six months.

When would I not need a licence?

The only time you wouldn’t need a licence for your salon is a one-off celebration, party or charity event – most importantly when your client isn’t having a haircut or receiving any other service from you. But nevertheless, check with your local council.

New provisions from April 2017, for wholesale buying alcohol

From April 2017, new provisions will be in place for businesses that sell alcohol to the public. If you are an owner of a hair, beauty or barber business selling alcohol to your clients you will need to ensure that the UK wholesalers you buy alcohol from have been approved by HMRC under the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS). You will need to check the wholesaler’s Unique Registration Number (URN) against the HMRC online database.

Penalties you will face as a salon owner if alcohol is not purchased from an approved wholesaler:

  • Liable to a penalty or could even face criminal prosecution
  • Alcohol stock seized
serving alcohol in your business

Tell the local media you are a hair or beauty business with an alcohol licence!

If your hair or beauty business is based in a small town it is likely you will be one of, if not the only, salon or barber shop which offers alcohol. Use this to get some valuable publicity with a press release to your local media. This could be with a pre-Christmas party inviting current clients and potential new clients to the salon.

Make the most of holidays, anniversaries of your business and the changing of seasons – from a glass of Pimms in the summer, to bubbly for celebrations, and hot spiced mulled wine for the festive season.

It’s a cost-effective and simple way to inject something different into your business and your customer service, making the client’s experience even more memorable. 


The NHF has free round the clock legal helpline for its members on advice if you are thinking of introducing selling alcohol as part of your services. Need more advice on how serving alcohol can improve your customer service? NHF Members can download out free guide “Delivering a great client experience” here.

For help with licences in your area, find out who your local council is.

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