On premise licensees are eligible to apply for catering permits to do offsite events. They can provide food and beverage (not just the alcoholic beverages) under their existing license at off-site locations if hired for a private event. Where the license is full liquor, this can be especially advantageous because:
- There is a higher limit to the number of permits per location and no limit per licensee (where as special event permits have a limit of four per year per applicant or location)
- Special event permits are limited to beer/wine/cider only
Catering permits differ from catering establishment licenses. On premise retail licenses can apply for catering permits with 15 days advance Application to the SLA. The requirements for catering permits differ from those applicable to special event permits and can be easier to obtain. But catering permits require that the event be hosted by a third party, not the licensee that is providing the catering. In other words, the licensee cannot organize a public event off-site using these permits an effectively act as a “mobile bar.” However, a special event permit can be used for an event open to the public.
Advisory 2022-36 now establishes that catering permits can be obtained for premises that:
- Have an existing license
- Have a pending application
- Have a conditionally approved license
This differs from prior policies that prevented third-party caterers from providing services when a license application was pending for the location or already is issued. This helps licensees in the currently long licensing processing times of 6 to 8 months. Events such as weddings can be booked to using a licensed third-party caterer. This can be a game changer and enable startups to use their premises in some capacity until their license is issued.
The Advisory also clarifies that licensees can allow third party licensees to provide services on their license premises. A prime example of this is a wedding at a location with limited ability to provide food and beverage for such events.
The Advisory explains that the licensee for the premise must submit a statement that it consents to the third-party on its license promise. The Advisory also clarifies that the caterer can only serve alcohol permitted on the license promise. If the premises is licensed for beer/wine/cider, a caterer can only serve the same and cannot serve full liquor.
This Advisory can be a game changer for some startups if they understand all of the detailed requirements. The Advisory also states an annual limit for such catering permits at the location and contains other guidelines and restrictions that may apply to a licensee.
If you think this new Advisory can benefit you, contact Tracy Jong and her team at Evans Fox. Put our years of experience and our current understanding of the ever-changing rules and policies of the SLA to work for your business.