Is It Legal To Sell Alcohol From a Food Truck?
Updated: Jul 7
What you need to know in order to sell alcohol from a food truck legally.
Street food and food trucks are now a booming industry and a large part of modern food culture around the world. But it isn't all about the food, and alcohol also plays a large part in many events.
So you may be wondering can I sell alcohol from a food truck?
Yes, a food truck can serve alcohol with the right permits, which involves having a Temporary Events Notice and Personal Alcohol License in the UK and an Alcohol Beverage Control certification in the UK.
In this article, I will explain in more detail, what alcohol/liquor license and permits are needed for a mobile beer truck in both the UK & US.
Mobile alcohol license (UK)
A common question amongst people looking to start a mobile bar business is "Do I need a license for a mobile bar?".
And the answer is a resounding yes! To sell alcohol from a mobile bar in the UK you will need a mobile alcohol license call a Temporary Events Notice (TEN).
Need to know:
You will need a TEN for each event and can get up to 5 per year.
You can get up to 50 TEN's per year if you have a personal alcohol license.
There must be under 500 people at each event and last no more than 168 hours or 7 days
You must be over 18 to apply for a TEN
You must contact the local authority the event is being held in to apply for a TEN
How to get a Personal Alcohol License.
To get a personal alcohol license you will need to do the following:
Must be aged 18 years or over
Hold a relevant licensing qualification - for example, a BIIAB or CIEH Level 2 Award or a similar accredited qualification.
Here is a link to the GOV.UK website of the list of Accredited qualification providers: personal license to sell alcohol. All of the qualification providers are accredited by the Home Office
The aim of the qualification is to ensure that license holders are aware of licensing law and the wider social responsibilities involved in the sale of alcohol.
Once you receive this qualification you can then apply for a personal alcohol license.
For more information go the GOV.UK website.
Insurance and registration
Aside from a temporary events notice and personal alcohol license, you will also need the following:
Public Liability insurance - This covers you for any claims against your business.
Register with your local Council - A as a new business you will have to register with your local council.
Register with HMRC (UK)- You need to do this for tax purposes and can do so either on a self-employed basis or as a Limited company.
How much does an alcohol license cost?
Temporary Events Notice = £21 per notice.
Personal Alcohol License = £37.
BIIAB or CIEH Level 2 Award (needed before you can apply for a Personal Alcohol License) = £69- £170 for a 1-day course.
Mobile Liquor license (US)
Getting a mobile alcohol license is the US is a bit more complicated than the UK and local liquor laws differ from state to state and as such you need to be compliant in each jurisdiction.
Need to know:
In order to serve and sell alcohol, an Alcohol Beverage Control certification must be obtained. This is a course that provides training on the legislation around the sell, consumption and risks associated with alcohol.
Each state has its own Alcohol Beverage Control board (ABC) which you will need to contact in order to understand the local state alcohol laws.
You must be 21 or over to obtain an alcohol license
Here is a link to the alcohol boards of each state in the US and Puerto Rico.
How Much Does an Alcohol Beverage Control certification cost?
An Alcohol license can range from $300 up to $14000 depending on the state you are applying.
Are mobile bars profitable?
The short answer is definitely yes! Alcohol is hugely popular all year round at a range of events. And you are looking at a 50-70% profit margin per unit.
Benefits of a mobile bar business
Alcohol lasts for a long time so unused stock going to waste (like with food) is less of an issue.
There is very little preparation involved, (food trucks have to do a lot of prep).
Alcohol can be sold all year round and is not affected by seasonality. Think summer festivals to Xmas parties.
ALCOHOL BEVERAGE CONTROL ABC-RBS TRAINING
Alcohol Beverage Authorities in United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico