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How to Obtain a Liquor License in Singapore

Updated on Friday 29th April 2022

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Open-a-beverage-company-in-Singapore.jpgBy Vlad Cuc, specialist in company formation matters
Local and foreign enterprisers who want to start businesses in Singapore can open companies in various industries which are performing quite well at the moment. One of these industries is the beverages one, as it offers numerous investment opportunities. From companies for the manufacture of drinks to bars, young entrepreneurs have plenty of choices. The common factor for all types of beverage businesses is the Singapore liquor license.
The law providing for how to obtain a liquor license in Singapore is the Liquor Control Act. Our Singapore company formation consultants can offer information on the legislation related to obtaining a liquor license. Our local consultants can help those who want to open companies in Singapore obtain the necessary permits for their businesses, including liquor licenses.

Types of businesses that require a liquor license in Singapore

There are various types of activities that require obtaining a liquor license in Singapore. Among these, bars and restaurants are two of the most important. Shops are also required to apply for such a license when selling alcoholic drinks. However, before reaching the stage in which they need to apply for this permit, they must be properly registered with the Singapore authorities and must also pass specific inspections.
Considering there are several types of liquor licenses available, a Singapore company must also decide on the permit to apply for. The decision will be based on the alcoholic drinks it will sell and its program.
If you need guidance in choosing the type of liquor license, our local agents can review your company business profile and guide you. We are also at the service of foreign companies that decide on opening a branch office in Singapore.

What are the requirements for obtaining a Singapore liquor license?

It is important to note that there are several requirements both local and foreign investors need to comply with before applying for a liquor license in Singapore. The first one is to register a company in Singapore. Then, the business owner must make sure that the company meets the criteria under which the liquor license is granted.
The following requirements must be met at the moment the liquor license application is filed:
  1. the company must be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA);
  2. the applicant (the person representing the company) must be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident;
  3. the company representative must be a director of the company, a partner if the business is a partnership, or the business owner in the case of a sole trader;
  4. the applicant must meet the fit and proper criteria imposed by the licensing authority in Singapore.
The liquor license is issued by the Singapore Police Force. Other requirements related to the liquor license is that in certain cases, companies could be required to apply for more than one license. This is usually the case of manufacturing and retail companies producing, respectively selling various types of beverages.
Our Singapore company formation specialists can help foreign investors with the incorporation procedure of a business which meets the requirements for obtaining a liquor license.
If you want to set up a company in Singapore in this field, our team is at your disposal.

How to choose the type of liquor license to obtain

The following aspects need to be considered before applying for a Singapore liquor license. Among these are:
  • - the beverages to sell,
  • - the type of establishment,
  • - the closing hours of the establishment.
It is important to make these distinctions because in terms of beverages, the company can sell beer or other types of alcoholic beverages, however, both types of liquors can also be sold, case in which the license must provide for the sale of both.
As mentioned above, there are several categories of Singapore companies that can apply for liquor licenses, and it is important to specify if the drinks are only sold or can also be served on the premises of the establishment.
Then, the closing hours of bars and restaurants are important because this one of the criteria under which the license is issued.
Singapore has very strict rules about the consumption of alcoholic drinks which is why when applying for the liquor license the rules must be respected. 

Types of liquor licenses in Singapore

Enterprisers who want to open bars in the city-state, for example, are required to apply for a liquor license after the Singapore company formation process is completed. They can choose from one of the following classes of liquor licenses:
  1. the 1st class public house license which is available for companies serving alcoholic beverages between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m.;
  2. the 2nd class public house license which is available for Singapore companies serving alcoholic drinks between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.;
  3. the beer house license which allows the serving of beer between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m.;
  4. the retail liquor shop license which provides for the sale of alcoholic drinks between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m.;
  5. the retail beer shop license which allows the sale of beer between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m.;
  6. the wholesale liquor shop and the wholesale beer shop license which is for distributors of alcoholic drinks, respectively beer and which allows the sale of such drinks between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Under the new Liquor Control Act, Singapore bars can also have terraces for which an outdoor beer house license must be obtained. The hours for trading beer in such establishment are defined on a case-to-case basis.
Setting up a company in Singapore implies several steps, especially if you business  needs special licenses. Our company formation agents can assist foreign investors who want to open a company in Singapore and set up a bar here. 

The 1st class of liquor licenses in Singapore

Liquor licenses in Singapore are divided into 4 classes. The 1st class is made of the 1A and 1B licenses which imply the sale of beverages for consumption in the restaurant or bar. The first type allows drinking from 6 in the morning until midnight, while the second one allows consumption from 6 AM until 10 PM.
This type of license is usually requested by restaurants in Singapore.

The 2nd and 3rd classes liquor license in Singapore

The sale of alcoholic beverages under the 2nd class liquor license implies categories A and B, where the class A permit allows the sale and consumption of beer between 6 AM and 11.59 PM in the establishment. On the other hand, the B class license allows the sale and consumption of beer for the duration of the working hours of the company. In this case, these hours are established by agreement and can deviate from the timeframes mentioned above.
When it comes to the 3A license, the retail sale of other types of alcoholic drinks other than beer is allowed for on-site consumption during 7 in the morning and until 10.29 in the evening.
The 3B license allows for the retail sale of beer during the same hours as for the 3A license.
In the case of the 3rd class liquor license, it should be noted that by retail sale one should understand that the quantity of alcohol sold is below 30 liters.
If you want to open a company in Singapore and need information on the requirements related to setting up a restaurant or bar, our representatives can help you.

Other types of liquor licenses in Singapore

The 4th and 5th classes of liquor licenses provide for the wholesale or consumption of liquor in another place than the premises for which the permit was obtained between 7 AM and 10.29 PM, respectively the temporary permit.
By wholesale, more than 30 liters of liquor can be sold.
Other important things to consider when applying for a liquor license in Singapore is that those who have obtained classes 3A and B and/or 4 licenses can also deliver beverages outside their operating hours, as long the deliveries are made to private homes.
The creation of a branch office in Singapore also enters the attention of our local agents.

Documents related to applying for a Singapore liquor license

The liquor license is a special license issued by the Singapore Police Force. The following documents are required when applying for a liquor license in Singapore:
  • - the certificate of registration of the company;
  • - the planning permission issued by the Urban Redevelopment Authority;
  • - the licenses issued by the authorities in charge with inspecting the premises of the company;
  • - the residence or work permit in the case of a foreign investor.
It takes about 2 weeks for a company to receive the liquor license from the Singapore Police Force.

The fit and proper test for obtaining a Singapore liquor license

As mentioned above, the person applying for liquor license must be at least a Singapore resident, but must also meet other criteria in order to be granted the license. The licensing officer will establish if the person is fit to obtain the license based on the following criteria:
  • - the person has never been convicted and is not under any police investigation;
  • - the person has a good track record and complies with the conditions for obtaining the license;
  • - the person cooperates with the police for the purpose of obtaining the liquor license;
  • - the person did not have any previous license cancelled or suspended.
Failing to meet at least one of the criteria above can lead to the person not obtaining the Singapore liquor license.
If you want to open a company in Singapore and need advice on how to apply for a liquor license, our local agents can advise you.

Conditions to respect after obtaining a Singapore liquor license

There are several conditions to respect after obtaining the liquor license and which must be respected in order to not lose it. Among these:
  • - the owner is not allowed to rent or lease the premises where alcohol is sold to third parties,
  • - the liquor must be stored only in the place for which the license was issued,
  • - the waiters serving alcohol to clients cannot be less than 17 years old,
  • - liquor is not be sold to inebriated persons or people below 18 years old.
Any misconduct under the Liquor License Act can lead to punishment and the loss of the license.

What to do after obtaining the liquor license

Once the liquor license is granted, the Singapore company must comply with a few requirements imposed by the law. The liquor must be stored in special places. It is also important to note that gambling activities are not allowed in locations where alcoholic beverages are sold.
Obtaining a liquor license in Singapore comes with various requirements depending on the type of license the company has applied for. As you could read above, there are several types of licenses, which is why if you have any questions related to the conditions related to specific liquor licenses, we invite you to discuss with our consultants in Singapore.

Renewal of the Singapore liquor license

The liquor license is issued for a maximum period of 1 year. However, there is also the Class 5 liquor license which is issued for a maximum period of 30 days, as this is a temporary license. No matter the validity period, the Singapore company using it can renew it. It is important to know that the license must be renewed before the actual expiration date.  We invite you to watch our video:


Fees for obtaining and renewing liquor licenses in Singapore

The application for a new or renewal of a liquor license on behalf of a Singapore company is subject to certain fees. Among these, the following yearly rates apply:
  • - for a class 1A license, the annual fee is 880 SGD;
  • - for a class 1B license, the fee is established at 660 SGD;
  • - for a class 2A license, the fee is 460 SGD per year;
  • - for the class 2B license, the fee is established 285 SGD per year.
Temporary licenses are subject to a 22 SGD fee per day. With respect to the renewal of the liquor license, the same rates will apply. It is also useful to know that certain alterations such as the operating hours of the premises where alcoholic beverages are sold can be extended.
For more information on how to obtain a liquor license, please contact our experts in opening companies in Singapore.


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