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Procedures issuance for Alcohol Distribution License

Nowadays, the wholesale and retail distribution industries are still developing in the Vietnamese market. However, in order to be legally distribute alcohol in Vietnam, traders need to be licensed by a competent state authority. The following article will inform readers about the procedure for granting a License for alcohol distribution and a number of related issues under current legislation.


  1. Does the alcohol distribution require a license?

– 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 4 Article 3 Decree 09/2018/ND-CP provides the definition of distribution is as follows: Distribution refers to wholesaling, retailing, sale agencies, and franchising

From the above bases, it can be understood that the definition of alcohol distribution includes wholesaling, retailing, sales agencies, and franchising of food-grade alcoholic beverages.

Pursuant to Clause 1, 2 Article 4 Decree 105/2017/ND-CP amended 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 the 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 purposes, 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 alcohol 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”.

Accordingly, traders distributing alcohol having at least 5.5% ABV are required to obtain a license.

For alcohol having less than 5.5% ABV: Traders distributing alcohol must be an enterprise, cooperative, cooperative union or household business that is established in accordance with the law and complying with regulations of the law on food safety. Simultaneously, traders only have to register its production with the Office of Economics or Office of Economics and Infrastructure affiliated to the People’s Committee of the district where the trader’s production facility is located using Section II in Appendix Decree 17/2020/ND-CP. In case of a change of the registered contents, it is required to register additional contents. Article 31b Decree 105/2017/ND-CP amended by clause 23 Article 16 Decree 17/2020/ND-CP.

Within the scope of this article, Bach Khoa Luat provides information and legal regulations related to the issuance of licenses for alcohol distribution in the case of traders distributing alcoholic beverages with an alcohol having at least 5.5% ABV.

  • Legal grounds related to alcohol distributors:

Law on prevention and control of harmful effects of alcoholic beverages 2019.

Decree 09/2018/ND-CP on the detailed regulation of the Commercial Law and the Foreign Trade Management Law on the purchase and sale of goods and the activities directly related to the sale of foreign goods by foreign investors and economic institutions with foreign investment capital in Vietnam.

Decree 105/2017/ND-CP on alcohol business.

Decree 17/2020/ND-CP amending and supplementing some articles of decrees relating to business investment conditions in the field of state management of the Ministry of Commerce.

  • Conditions for distributing alcohol having at least 5.5% ABV:

For alcohol having at least 5.5% ABV is required to obtain a license:

In addition, it is necessary to meet the conditions laid down in Article 11 of Decree 105/2017/ND-CP as amended by Clause 5 of Article 16 of Decree 17/2020/ ND-CP and Clause 3 of Article 17 of Decree 17-2020/ND/CP as follows:

– The enterprise distributing alcohol (alcohol distributor) shall be established according to regulations of law.

– The alcohol distribution network shall be available in at least 2 provinces/central-affiliated cities; in each province/central-affiliated city, there shall be at least one alcohol wholesaler. If the company has established a branch or place of business outside of its headquarters for the business of alcohol, no approval from the wholesaler is required.

– A written reference or an agreement in principle shall be made by another alcohol producer, distributor or foreign alcohol supplier.

  • Application for an alcohol distribution license

For the issuance of licenses for the distribution of alcoholic beverages, traders must prepare full documentation in accordance with Article 21 of Decree 105/2017/ND-CP as amended by Clause 6 Article 16, Clause 7 Article 17 of Decree 17/2020/ ND-CP, including:

A completed application form provided in specimen Form No. 01 attached with Decree 17/2020/ND-CP.

A copy of the Enterprise registration certificate or equivalent legal documents.

Documents of the alcoholic distribution system consist of one of the following two categories:

+ A copy of the agreement in principle, written confirmation or written commitment of participating in the alcohol distribution network made by the alcohol wholesaler; a copy of the license for alcohol wholesaling of the wholesaler intends to participate in the distribution network of the applicant.

+ A copy of the certificate of registration of the business branch activity of the enterprise or the business location registration certificate of the Enterprise for the alcohol business.

Documents related to the alcohol supplier:

+ A copy of the written reference or the agreement in principle made by another alcohol producer, distributor or a foreign alcohol supplier specified expected alcohol for sale in line with the operation of the alcohol supplier.

+ A copy of the license for alcohol production/distribution if the alcohol supplier is a domestic one.

  •  Apply for the alcohol distribution license

The procedure for granting a license for alcohol distribution is specified in Clause 2 Article 25 of Decree 105/2017/ND-CP amended by Clause 19 Article 16 of.

For more procedure details, please see here:

Issue of the Alcohol distribution licenses.

Issue of the revised Alcohol distribution license.

Reissue of the Alcohol distribution license.

  • Some notes after being granted the Alcohol distribution license

Traders after obtaining a license for alcohol distribution and distribution activities should pay attention to a number of issues as follows:

First, alcohol having less than 5.5% ABV is required to obtain a license, before 20 January each year, the alcohol distribution trader shall be responsible for submitting a report on the production and business situation of the previous year of his unit to the state authority competent to grant licenses in accordance with Form No.8, Form No.9 Section II in the Annex issued accompanied by Decree 17/2020/ND-CP.

Secondly, the alcohol distribution license may be revoked in the cases specified in Article 33 of Decree 105/2017/ND-CP including:

– Fake applications;

– Failure to fulfill or comply with prescribed regulations;

– Termination of production or trade;

– The license granted within improper competence;

– The trader has the license but ceasing operation for 12 consecutive months.

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