2. Off-licences

Off-licensed premises include bottle stores, supermarkets and grocery stores. There are other less-common off-licences including auctioneers, mail order, wine growers and bottle stores located within taverns.

An off-licence allows the premises to sell and supply alcohol for consumption off the premises.

It is known that, in New Zealand, approximately 75% of all alcohol is sold from off-licences (43% from bottle stores, 32% from supermarkets).[i]  An off-licence also allows wholesalers to deliver alcohol directly to the customer from their own premises.

Off-licences for remote sellers are for those who use the internet, telephone, mail or other means to sell and deliver alcohol remotely to a customer who is not at the off-licence premises. Delivery must not occur between 11pm and 6am or at any time on Good Friday or Christmas Day, or before 1pm on Anzac Day. Delivery must not occur on Easter Sunday (some exceptions, e.g. cellar door sales). 

National guidance on remote sales of alcohol

Requirements for off-licences

Intoxication: Similar to on-licences, it is illegal for off-licence premises to serve someone who is intoxicated.

Trading hours: If your Local Council has not developed their own Local Alcohol Policy then the maximum hours permitted for an off-licence are 7am to 11pm.

Promotions: It is against the law if an off-licence:

  • Promotes or advertises discounts on alcohol of 25% or more below the usual price (other than at the licenced premises, or in a catalogue or similar price list at an off-licence);
  • Promotes or advertises discounts on alcohol of 25% or more that can be seen from the outside of the premises;
  • Promote or advertise free alcohol except for promotions inside the premises that cannot be viewed from outside and do not encourage excessive consumption;
  • Offer any goods or services or the opportunity to win a prize when purchasing alcohol;
  • Promote or advertise alcohol in a way that is aimed at or likely to have special appeal to young people aged under 18.

For more information, please visit the promotion section of this website.

The Health Promotion Agency has also provided guidance on irresponsible promotion of alcohol for licensed premises:

For the full text of the requirement of irresponsible promotion of alcohol, see section 237 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

Single areas in supermarkets and grocery stores

NZ law requires that the alcohol sold in supermarkets and grocery stores is displayed in a single area. This is to limit the exposure of shoppers from any alcohol display, promotion and advertisement. The law is that  (click here for section 112 to 114):

  • There is a designated single area for alcohol products;
  • There should be no display, promotion or advertisement for alcohol outside the designated single area
  • The designated area should not be placed at the route where shoppers most frequently pass through, i.e.,
    • any entrance to the main body of the stores, or
    • the main body of the stores any check out point

However, the law states that single alcohol areas only have to limit the exposure of alcohol so far as reasonably practicable.

Decisions on what constitutes a ‘single area’ are made by the District Licensing Committee. As each retail outlet will look different, decisions are mostly made on a case by case basis. 


[i] Insight Economics. (2014). Economic Analysis of Auckland Council’s Draft Local Alcohol Policy. Auckland, N.Z.: Hospitality New Zealand. http://www.hospitalitynz.org.nz/~downloads/Insight_Economics_Analysis_of_Auckland_draft_LAP_15072014.pdf