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Procedures issuance for Alcohol Retail License

Nowadays, we can easily find popular alcohol shelves for sale such as vodka, gin, and tequila,… in convenience stores, mini supermarkets, 24-hour shops, or other retail stores. Alcohol is a commodity on the list of conditional business lines, so traders need to carry out procedures to apply for licenses for alcohol retailing before conducting the retail business of this product. So how is the procedure for granting a license for alcohol retailing regulated, and what conditions must the business meet? Let’s find out the current regulations of the law according to the article below.


1. Definition related to alcohol retail?

– Pursuant to Clause 1 Article 2 of the Law on the Prevention and Control of Harmful Effects of Alcoholic Beverages 2019 states the definition of alcohol is as follows: Alcohol refers to the alcoholic beverage obtained from the fermentation of one or a mixture of ingredients mainly including starches of cereals or sugar syrups of plants, flowers, tubers, fruits or beverages obtained from alcohol food.”

– Pursuant to Clause 7 Article 3 Decree 09/2018/ND-CP regulations on the definition of retail are as follows:Retailing involves selling goods to individuals, households, other organizations for consumption purpose.”

From the above bases, it is possible to understand that alcohol retail is the activity of selling alcoholic drinks to other individuals, households, and organizations for consumption purposes.

2. Legal grounds related to alcohol retail

Law on Prevention and control of harmful effects of alcoholic beverages 2019;

Decree 105/2017/ND-CP about the alcohol business;

Decree 17/2020/ND-CP amendments to some articles of decrees related to necessary business conditions in fields under the management of the ministry of industry and trade;

Decree 09/2018/ND-CP guidelines for the Law on commerce and the Law on foreign trade management regarding the sale of goods and other activities directly related to the sale of goods of foreign investors and foreign-invested business entities in Vietnam.

3. Conditions for alcohol retail

Pursuant to Article 4 Decree 105/2017/ND-CP amendment by Clause 1 Article 16 Decree 17/2020/ND-CP:

1. Trade in alcohol is included in the list of conditional business lines. Alcohol traders shall comply with regulations of the Law on Prevention and Control of Harmful Effects of Alcoholic Beverages and this Decree.

2. Traders that produce alcohol on an industrial scale, traders that produce alcohol for business purposes using traditional methods for business purpose, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers of alcohol having at least 5.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) are required to obtain a license; traders that trade in an alcohol having at least 5.5% ABV for on-premises consumption and traders that trade in an alcohol having less than 5.5% ABV are required to register their sale with the Office of Economics or district-level Office of Economics and Infrastructure; households and individuals that produce spirits having at least 5.5% ABV using traditional methods and sell them to holders of the alcohol production license for re-preparation are required to register their production with People’s Committees of communes where the production facilities are located.


For alcohol having less than 5.5% ABV: Trader alcohol retail must be an enterprise, cooperative, cooperative union, or household business that is established in accordance with the law and comply with regulations of the law on food safety. With that, traders only have to register with the Economic Division or the Economic and Infrastructure Division of the district-level People’s Committee, where the trader’s head office is located before conducting business activities according to the provisions of law according to Form No. 14, Section II in Appendix promulgated with Decree 17/2020/ND-CP. In the event of a change to the registered content, additional registration must be made. (Article 31b Decree 105/2017/ND-CP amendment by Clause 23 Article 16 Decree 17/2020/ND-CP).

For alcohol having at least 5.5.% ABV: Trader alcoholmust apply for an alcohol retail license. Besides, it is necessary to meet the conditions specified in Article 13 Decree 105/2017/ND-CP added by Clause 5 Article 17 Decree 17/2020/ND-CP specifically include:

– First, means an enterprise, a cooperative, a union of cooperatives, or a business household established in accordance with the law.

– Second, has the lawful right to use a fixed business location with a clear address.

– Third, there is a written introduction or a contract in principle with the wine producer, liquor distributor, or liquor wholesaler.

Thus, traders who want to do alcohol retail business need to fully meet the conditions as prescribed above.

4. Dossier for issuance of alcohol retail license

Traders carrying out procedures for granting alcohol retail licenses need to prepare documents to submit to competent authorities. Dossier of application for a license to retail alcohol in Article 23 Decree 105/2017/ND-CP amendment by Clause 9 Article 17 Decree 17/2020/ND-CP includes:

An application form for an alcohol retail license made according to Form No. 01 promulgated with Decree 17/2020/ND-CP.

– A copy of the Certificate of Registration of the enterprise, cooperative, union of cooperatives, or business household.

– A copy of the lease/borrow contract or other document proving the legal right to use the premises intended for the retail location.

– A copy of the referral document or the principal contract of the wine producer, liquor distributor or liquor wholesaler.

5. Procedures for the issuance of an alcohol retail license

Traders that fully satisfy the above conditions shall carry out the procedures for issuance of an alcohol retail License according to the provisions of Clause 2 Article 25 Decree 105/2017/ND-CP amendment by Clause 9 Article 16 Decree 17/2020/ND-CP.

See the detailed procedure here:

Issuance of Alcohol retail license

Issuance of amendments and supplements to Alcohol retail licenses

Re-issuance of Alcohol retail license

6. Some notes after being granted an Alcohol retail license

After being granted an Alcohol retail license, traders should note the following issues:

First, The rights and obligations of alcohol retail traders are specified in Clause 1 (amendment by Clause 10 Article 16 Decree 17/2020/ND-CP) and Clause 4 Article 18 Decree 105/2017/ND-CP:

– Buying and selling alcohol of legal origin;

– Post legitimate copies of licenses granted by the competent authority at their premises and only purchase and/or sell alcohol according to the licenses, except for the case in which the trader sells alcohol for on-premises consumption;

– Implement the reporting regime and other obligations as prescribed in this Decree;

– Buying alcohol from domestic alcohol producers, alcohol distributors, and alcohol wholesalers according to the contents stated in the License;

– Selling alcohol to traders means selling alcohol for on-site consumption or selling directly to buyers at traders’ business locations according to the content stated in the license.

Second, for alcohol with alcohol having at least 5.5% ABV, before January 20th of each year, the alcohol retail trader is responsible for sending a report on the situation of alcohol production and trading in the previous year of its unit to the agency. The state has the authority to issue permits according to Form No. 08, Form No. 09, Section II in Appendix promulgated with Decree 17/2020/ND-CP.

Third, Article 33 Decree 105/2017/ND-CP specifies the revocation of the License. Accordingly, the License to alcohol retail may be revoked in the following cases:

– Forging application documents;

– Failure to meet or comply with the prescribed conditions;

– Termination of production and business activities;

– The License is not granted by the right authority;

– Trader has been granted a License but has not been active for a period of 12 consecutive months;

Also to note, The licensing state agency has the authority to revoke the issued Alcohol retail license.

Finally, the term of an alcohol retail license is 5 years as prescribed at Point b Clause 2 Article 28. Decree 105/2017/ND-CP added by Clause 20 Article 16 Decree 17/2020/ND-CP. Moreover according to Clause 1 Article 27 Decree 105/2017/ND-CP traders must submit dossiers of application for license re-issuance 30 days before the license expires.

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