Experiences Involving alcohol in Cape Town
This page is here to help give you a starting point to find out about some of the obligations that may apply to you if you decide to host Trips or Experiences on Airbnb. It’s for your information only and includes summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to official resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the law has not changed recently.*
I plan to serve or provide alcohol as part of my experience - do I need any licences for that?
Yes. The sale of alcohol of alcohol in Cape Town is a tightly regulated activity under the Liquor Act 59 of 2003, the Western Cape Liquor Act 2008, the Western Cape Liquor Regulations 2011 and the City of Cape Town: Control of Undertakings that Sell Liquor to the Public Bylaw 2013.
A person may not micro-manufacture or sell liquor unless they have a liquor licence, and can only do so in premises which are authorised by the licence and within specific hours which are set by the City of Cape Town. There are different types of liquor licences available. You should consult a legal advisor to find out about theses and the process you will need to follow in order to obtain the type of licence which applies to the activity that you intend to provide.
Note that the Western Cape Liquor Act (and the requirement for a liquor licence) does not apply if a person just wants to organise a genuine wine-tasting session (lasting a maximum of two hours and attended only by guests who are 18 or over) at which less than 200 millilitres of wine are sold for consumption during the wine tasting.
Here are some examples of where a liquor licence is likely to be required (but please double-check with a legal advisor):
- I want to host evening drinks (containing alcohol) and snacks at home to greet guests. I’d like to charge for this experience.
- I’d like to run a gin-infusing course. I’ll provide the gin and ingredients to guests and they’ll take a bottle of infused gin home. I'd like to charge for the experience.
Here are some examples of where a liquor licence may not be required (but please double-check with a professional legal advisor):
- I’d like to take guests to a couple of licensed local bars. The bars will be selling liquor to the guests and I will not be receiving any part of the money paid by guests for the liquor which is sold to them.
- I’ll be serving meals at home - I’d like to let people bring and serve themselves their own alcohol if they want to. I will not charge anything for this and the fee that I charge for the meal covers the meal only.
- I’ll be serving alcohol at home. I’d like to let guests bring their own alcohol if they want to but I’d like to charge a standard corkage fee and the corkage fee will not relate to the market value of the alcohol they bring.
- I’ll be serving meals at home - I’d like to serve one complimentary glass of alcohol to guests when they arrive. I’m not charging for this glass of alcohol and I’m not recovering my cost for this as a hidden charge or in any other way.
- I’d like to run a gin-infusing course where guests will bring their own gin and I'll provide the other non-alcoholic ingredients. The guests will take their own bottle of infused gin home. My fee will only relate to the provision of the other non-alcoholic ingredients and the course itself.
What if my experience is BYO, and I want to allow guests to bring their own alcohol?
You may not need a licence in this case, but we recommend you confirm the position with a professional legal advisor.
If my experience involves alcohol, do I need to watch out for anything else?
Yes. You should ensure that all guests are of legal drinking age (currently 18 years and above). Also, that it is prohibited to drink alcohol in public places.
Is there anything else I should think about?
You should be aware of potential criminal offences for failure to comply with alcohol licensing rules and other legislation applying to alcohol, which may include financial penalties and the possibility of a custodial sentence.
If your experience will also involve serving or providing food, we recommend that you take a look at our information about experiences involving food. If your experience will involve combining alcohol with another activity (for example, a guided tour of an area), please take a look at our other information sections to work out if any other rules might apply to your activity.
We recommend you also read our other information pages on What if I am a business?. If you’re in any doubt, we recommend you get in touch with your accountant or legal advisor to find out whether you’re operating as a business.
You should also check what tax and accounting rules apply to you, and make sure you have the right insurance cover in place to cover all the activities you will be providing.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).