Experiences Involving Alcohol in Queenstown
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your Trips or Experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government 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 your city or an attorney.
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?
The sale, supply and consumption of alcohol is tightly regulated in New Zealand.
Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, if you are selling or supplying alcohol as part of your experience, you will likely need one or more licences to enable you to do this. It is an offence to sell or supply alcohol without the appropriate licence.
There is one limited exception where you may be able to serve alcohol without being required to obtain an alcohol license:
- If you occupy premises that are used exclusively or principally as your home or residence and from time to time you have paying guests staying overnight on the premises you don’t need a licence to sell or supply alcohol to some or all of those staying guests for consumption on your premises, provided the supply is in the course of or incidental to the stay of not more than 10 guests on your premises.
You can find out more information about the types of alcohol licences and the application forms and processes on the Queenstown Lakes District Council website. It is also a good idea to contact the Queenstown Lakes District Council to find out more.
What if my experience takes place at a bar?
You would be unlikely to run afoul of regulations if you take your guests (who are not underage) to your favourite local bar that is licensed under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.
However, if your Experience involves two or more premises licensed under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (e.g. bars or restaurants with an alcohol licence), you are likely to be considered to be operating an organized licensed premise tours. In this case, please note that there is a new Bylaw in Queenstown relating to Activities in Public Places which requires a permit to operate an organised licensed premise tour that that is marketed or advertised to the public or a section of the public in any form. A licensed premises tour organiser must apply for a permit by completing the Organised Licensed Premises Tour Application form and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The processing timeframe for all applications is 20 working days, provided that all information is complete. An initial permit is valid for 1 year and free of charge. A permit must be renewed after the first year and will incur a processing fee. A renewed permit is valid for 3 years. For more information about the application process and a list of conditions imposed on licensed premises tour organisers, please visit the Queenstown Lakes District Council website.
What if my experience is BYO, and I want to allow guests to bring their own alcohol?
If your guests bring their own alcohol and you did not encourage them to do so, you will not require licence. However, if your Experience includes the following factors, your premises may be considered to be a “place of resort for the consumption of alcohol”: (a) where the consumption of BYO alcohol is a main or substantial purpose of the people participating in the Experience; (b) where there is a fee charged for bringing along alcohol; and/or (c) where the Experience encourages or is advertised to include BYO. You will likely need a licence if you are considered to be a “place of resort for the consumption of alcohol”. If you are unsure whether you need a licence, we encourage you to confirm the applicable position for your specific experience with the Queenstown Lakes District Council.
A licence is not required if your experience involves BYO in a public place (e.g. BYO to a picnic). However, note that there are alcohol ban Bylaws prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in certain public areas in Queenstown.
I brew my own beer or produce my own wine. What else do I need to keep in mind?
If you brew your own beer, your food activity or business is likely to be under National Programme 3. More information about this classification can be found here.
If you make your own wine or cider, you have a duty to ensure that it is ‘safe and suitable’ and may also need to operate under a food control plan or a national programme (please refer to the section on experiences involving food for more information). In addition, the Wine Act 2003 would also apply to makers of ‘wine’, which is defined as any grape wine, fruit wine, vegetable wine, or mead.
All wine made in New Zealand must meet New Zealand’s wine Standard, which include:
- the Wine Regulations 2006;
- the Wine (Specifications) Notice 2006; and
- the relevant requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
If you are a winemaker you must operate under a registered wine standards management plan (WSMP) for your wine-related operations, unless you are exempted. Small winemakers can be exempt from operating under a registered WSMP (and some other businesses can be given a limited exemption). To be eligible for a small winemakers exemption, you must meet two criteria:
- you must make less than 10,000 litres of wine each year; and
- all of your wine must be sold in New Zealand.
If you meet the criteria to apply for this exemption, you will need to notify the Ministry for Primary Industries using this form WA3 – Small winemakers exemption form.
If you do not need to register a WSMP, you’ll still have to comply with the other requirements of both the Food Act 2014 and the Wine Act 2003. One way to meet the requirements of the Wine Act 2003 is by following an approved Code of Practice published by The New Zealand Winegrowers.
If my experience involves alcohol, do I need to watch out for anything else?
- It is against the law to sell alcohol to anyone who is intoxicated, to allow a person to become intoxicated, or to serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 years. Doing so would amount to a criminal offence and you may be liable for a fine.
- It is an offence to drink alcohol in some public places in Queenstown during specified times. Public liquor bans are widespread in New Zealand. Public areas in the central city, waterfronts and parks of most major cities in New Zealand (including Queenstown, Auckland and Wellington) have a liquor ban in place and therefore you cannot provide alcohol to guests for consumption in such public spaces. Please refer to the Queenstown Alcohol Ban Bylaw 2014 for more information on banned areas and periods in Queenstown.
- There may be local alcohol policies enacted by local councils that apply to you, in relation to certain matters such as hours of operation. You should check with your local council.
- As “food” is defined under the Food Act 2014 and the Food Regulations 2015 to include drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), if you are providing drinks, you will need to comply with the rules summarised in the experiences involving food section.
Please note that whether or not a licence is required, you as the host should still be responsible for guests who are drinking alcohol, in particular in watching out for your guests’ safety. Further guidance on safety can be found in our information section on guiding tours.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If your experience will also involve serving or providing food, you are encouraged to take a look at our information page 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.
*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).
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