Customs and Excise

Applying for a Licence to Sell Intoxicating Liquor

All persons or business places wishing to sell intoxicating liquor (beer, rum, wine and other spirits) must obtain a liquor licence from the Excise Branch of the Customs and Excise Division. Dependent upon the types of alcohol to be sold and the type of establishment where the alcohol would be sold, there are different types of licences that are required.

What type of licence do I need?

There are ten different types of liquor licences that are issued in Trinidad and Tobago:

  1. A spirit retailer’s licence is required for persons or businesses that wish to sell intoxicating liquor in any quantity for consumption, either on or off the licensed premises, at any time of day or night.
  2. A wine retailer’s licence is required for persons or businesses wanting to sell only wine or beer in any quantity for consumption either on or off the licensed premises, at any time of day or night.
  3. A spirit grocer’s licence is required for persons or businesses that wish to sell intoxicating liquor in bottles only in any amount for consumption away from the licensed premises, at any time of day or night.
  4. A wine merchant’s licence is required for persons or businesses wanting to sell beer and/or wine only for consumption off the licensed premises only, and in quantities of not less than 3.4 litres (0.75 gallons) of wine or 6.8 litres (1.5 gallons) of beer at one time, at any time of day or night.
  5. A spirit dealer’s licence is required for persons or businesses that wish to sell intoxicating liquor for consumption off the licensed premises only, at any time of day or night. This licence states that minimum quantities must be sold as follows:
    • For rum made in Trinidad and Tobago, not less than 109 litres (24 gallons) contained in one cask, or 6.8 (1.5 gallons) contained in bottles in one case.
    • For wine, not less than 3.4 litres (0.75 gallons).
    • For other intoxicating liquor, not less than 6.8 litres (1.5 gallons) with the original packages, in which the liquor was imported, unbroken.
  6. A night bar licence is required for places that sell spirits to be consumed on the licensed premises at any time of day or night.
  7. The hotel spirit/special hotel/restaurant/special restaurant licences are required to sell intoxicating liquor in any quantity to be consumed on the licensed premises only, at any time of day or night.
  8. The hotel spirit licence is required for places that sell alcohol to persons lodging at the hotel or having a meal there.
  9. The restaurant licence is required for places that sell alcohol to persons having a meal at the premises.
  10. The special restaurant/special hotel licence is required by places that sell alcohol to persons whether or not they are lodging at the premises or having a meal there.

Please note that intoxicating liquor may only be sold to persons 18 years of age and older.

How do I apply for a licence to sell intoxicating liquor?

You must apply by submitting the following documents to the Secretary of the Liquor Licensing Committee at the Magistrate’s Court in the county where the business place is to be situated. Please note that the Secretary of the Liquor Licensing Committee is usually the Clerk of the Magistrate’s Court.

  • Liquor Licence application forms filled out in triplicate.
  • Board of Inland Revenue File (BIR) Number.
  • Floor plan of premises to be licensed.
  • Valid Police Certificate of Good Character of owner/applicant.
  • Town and Country building approvals for the premises to be used for the purpose being applied.
  • Fire Department’s report on the premises.
  • Health report on premises.

Once all of the above documents are submitted along with the TT$40.00 application fee, a notice of the application (including the name, occupation and residence of the applicant, along with the precise location of the premises) is placed in the daily newspapers and the government Gazette. This notice also includes the date and time of the licensing session, which all applicants and persons interested in objecting must attend.

Subject to the applicant’s success in this process, an Excise representative will visit the proposed premises to ensure that it meets the minimum requirements as specified in the Excise Act. After completing the visit, the Excise division will prepare a report for submission to the Licensing Committee.

After considering all of the documents, including the Customs and Excise report on the premises, a representative of the Licensing Committee will visit the premises to confirm the details of the Customs and Excise report.

Please note that the applicant must indicate what time is appropriate for the Customs and Excise Division and the Licensing Committee to visit the premises.

How much does it cost to apply for a liquor licence?

Along with all the documentation, applicants must pay a fee of TT$40.00 in order to have their application processed.

Where do I apply for a liquor licence?

Application documents must be taken to:

  • Excise Branch
    Customs and Excise Division
    Ministry of Finance
    Custom House
    Ajax Street, Wrightson Road
    Port of Spain
    Trinidad
    Tel. (868) 625-3311–9 Ext 5076
    Opening hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday, except public holidays.
  • Customs and Excise Division
    Ministry of Finance
    Customs Street
    Scarborough
    Tobago
    Tel. (868) 639-2415
    Opening hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday, except public holidays.
  • Customs and Excise Division
    “Lee Chong Building”
    San Fernando Street
    San Fernando
    Trinidad
    Tel. (868) 657-0150
    Opening hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday, except public holidays

Where can I find more information?

For further information, please contact:

Excise Branch
Customs and Excise Division
Ministry of Finance
Custom House
Ajax Street, Wrightson Road
Port of Spain
Trinidad, West Indies
Tel. (868) 625-3311–9 Ext 5076
Opening hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday, except public holidays.

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