By Alex Tomlinson, licensing solicitor, Poppleston Allen

The festive season is one of the most important times of the year for drinks retailers. Businesses including independent wine merchants, bottle shops, specialist retailers and luxury stores should consider offering customers something special by utilising a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). 

TENs are a notification used as a temporary permission for licensable activities, allowing businesses to host events such as tasting evenings, supper clubs and later trading hours. By utilising a TEN, businesses can tempt customers to visit more frequently, sample goods and build relationships which could result in greater footfall, an uplift in dwelling time and, ultimately, an increase in profits. 

1. It’s best practice to check all licences held, whether that be personal, premises or pavements (for outside spaces), are up to date before applying for a TEN.   

2. TENs make temporary provision for one-off events in certain situations, such as where the existing premises licence doesn’t have the required hours or activities. At least 10 working days’ notice must be given to the licensing authority, excluding the date the notice is received and the first day of the event. 

3. However, if a licence is required before this time, the only option available is a late TEN application. The good news is, if there are less than 10 days before the event, it’s possible to apply for a late TEN by giving no less than five working days’ notice before the event. 

4. If it’s the first time you’ve held an event, you must consider if there will be more noise at a time when neighbours don’t usually expect it. This is very important with evening events. We advise businesses to use signage inside and outside of premises asking customers to be considerate and to keep noise levels down, especially in outside areas. If you’ve experienced noise complaints previously, it’s prudent to speak with your neighbours advising them of your plans. 

5. Be clear whether you want on-sales, off-sales, or both. If you apply for on-sales only, then customers won’t be permitted to take alcohol off the premises. So, make sure you think about all possibilities and don’t limit your business opportunities by missing a licence application.