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Detached bottle shops – what are the rules you need to know?

This article originally appeared in QHA Review magazine, September 2018 edition

Detached bottle shops are a concept unique to Queensland. While many people may be interested in opening a bottle shop, it is an opportunity only able to be pursued by licensees under a commercial hotel liquor licence.

This presents commercial hotel licensees a distinct opportunity to diversify the revenue streams of their pub or tavern to include the retail sale of liquor at up to three locations.

Approval of detached bottle shops in Queensland is regulated by the Office of Liquor and Gaming (OLGR). There are a number of rules which apply to the appropriateness of a retail premises to be approved as a detached bottle shop.

Below, we provide a refresher on the relevant rules for any licensees looking to seek approval for a detached bottle shop.

Requirements for premises

In relation to the premises proposed to be a detached bottle shop:

  1. The premises must not be more than 150m2;
  2. The premises must have direct access from a public place and must not have direct access from any other business premises;
  3. The premises must not have a drive-in or drive-through facility;
  4. Only the licensee has the right to occupy the proposed premises; and 
  5. The premises must not be more than 10km from the main licensed premises by using the shortest route which may be taken by road.

    However, the OLGR may approve a detached bottle shop that is more than 10km from the main hotel premises if the proposed detached bottle shop will be in a locality where there is no licensed premises at which takeaway liquor is sold and it will primarily service the residents of the locality and because of the locality's population or projected population, the locality is not likely to attract the establishment of licensed premises other than a detached bottle shop. This will include, for example, a small rural community.

A commercial hotel licensee may apply for approval of up to three detached bottle shops from its licence. In this regard, subject to approval, there is an ability to transfer detached bottle shops if licensees need to move a detached bottle shop from one commercial hotel licence to another. Where a licensee owns more than one hotel, the licensee can be strategic about which licence a particular bottle shop detaches from to maximise opportunities within 10km. 

Petrol stations

If the proposed detached bottle shop is located within the same complex as a petrol station or is located in an adjoining complex, there are additional application requirements and it will be given careful consideration by the OLGR. The general concern in approving applications in these circumstances is in relation to drink driving.

An application for a detached bottle shop where the petrol station and the bottle shop have the same point of sale or are in the same business will likely be refused.

However, where liquor and petrol are sold in adjoining buildings or the sale of petrol is only a minor part of the business then careful consideration will be given to approval. In these instances, the OLGR may approve an application but impose conditions in order to satisfy any concerns of drink driving. This could include imposing advertising restrictions on the premises. 

Town planning requirements

The OLGR will require evidence that the use of the proposed premises as a detached bottle shop is permitted and lawful under the relevant town planning scheme applicable to the premises, before it will issue approval of a detached bottle shop.

Trading hours

The standard trading hours for a detached bottle shop in Queensland are 10am to 10pm, 7 days a week. However, the OLGR will consider granting extended trading hours between 9am and 10am where a licensee can satisfy the Commissioner that the ‘demonstrated need’ requirement has been met and the extended hours are necessary to meet the requirements of the locality.

The OLGR provides an extensive guideline which governs the issues which will be considered in determining extended trading hours applications for detached bottle shops (Guideline 46).

If you would like to discuss any aspect of applying for a new detached bottle shop, or extended trading hours for an existing detached bottle shop, please get in contact.

This article was written by Annabelle Efstathis, Solicitor, and Curt Schatz, Managing Partner 

"The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication."