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Special Events Licences

A special event liquor licence (SEL) is a legal document that allows the licence holder to host a function with liquor service. Special event licence holders can be individuals, not-for-profit organizations or companies.

Special event functions are restricted to members and invited guests only, and can not include the general public.

Types of Special Event licences for private functions

A Private (non-sale) licence allows the licence holder to provide liquor to invited guests free of charge. Private non-sale licences can be obtained only by:

  • Not–for-profit or charitable organizations
  • Adults organizing family functions such as wedding receptions and family reunions, and
  • Business/companies.

A Private (resale) licence allows the licence holder to sell liquor to invited guests. Private resale licences can be obtained only by:

  • Not-for-profit or charitable organizations
  • Adults organizing family functions such as wedding receptions and family reunions
  • Business/companies’ staff social committee

Special Event Licence Restrictions

A special event licence will not be issued:

  • To anyone under the age of 18 or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • For an establishment where a Class A, B, C or D liquor licence is in effect or under suspension
  • For an area open to the general public

Bring Your Own Wine and homemade liquor products

BYOW (bring your own wine) is only allowed at private residences, not community halls, banquet facilities etc.

Homemade wine, beer or cider cannot be served or consumed and is not allowed on the licensed premises.

Licences for private functions of up to 400 people can be authorized by retail liquor stores, general merchandise liquor stores and general off sales rooms. The AGLC must approve Special Event Licences for larger functions. At no time may the fire capacity of the premises be exceeded.

Food service is recommended at all functions. Non-alcoholic beverages must be available.

Liquor service for special event liquor licences can be provided from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m. the following morning. Licence holders may split these hours into two liquor service periods.

A one hour consumption period is permitted once liquor service ends. If liquor service goes from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., all drinks must be consumed and all liquor removed from the premises by 3 a.m.

A request for liquor service before 10 a.m. can be made to the AGLC Regulatory Division.

Suitable locations for Special Event liquor licensed functions include:

  • Community halls
  • Banquet rooms or Meeting rooms
  • Areas in licensed premises that have been reserved exclusively for the use of the licence holder.

Public access must be restricted.


  • Any advertising for a private function must specify that the function is for "members and invited guests only". Such advertising may not invite the general public or suggest the general public is welcome.
  • Community leagues can advertise a function on signs, including freestanding illuminated signs, on community league property.
  • Posters can be displayed on community notice boards.
  • Advertisements may be placed in local newspapers or on radio and television, and should include:
    1. Name of organization and function
    2. Date of function
    3. Location
    4. How to obtain tickets
    5. Contact names and telephone numbers
  • Tickets to private functions cannot be sold to the general public and cannot be sold from business outlets or from public venues.

Example of advertising:


Fraternal Order of Albertans

Friday, October 31       MyClub Community Hall
Music by Super Trio. Dance 9 pm to midnight. Refreshments.
For tickets call club secretary Jane Doe at 780-447-8600.
Members and Invited Guests Only

Public Special Event Liquor Licence: Event Inspections

As a liquor licensee, you are responsible for ensuring compliance with all legislation, policies and requirements governing the sale and consumption of liquor. These include the Liquor Licensee Handbook and other policies and guidelines. All of these requirements are available at on this website.

AGLC Liquor Inspectors visit hundreds of events each year to ensure they are operating within the policies and regulations of the Province of Alberta. Some of the violations that AGLC Liquor Inspectors monitor when visiting your event are:


  • Patrons must be 18 years of age to consume, possess, or serve liquor at your event.
  • You must request identification from any person who appears to be under the age of 25 if they request liquor service.


  • Licensees and licensee staff or volunteers are prohibited from providing liquor to anyone who appears to be intoxicated by liquor or a drug.
  • Intoxicated persons are allowed to be in a licensed area, but must be prevented from consuming liquor.

Staff consumption

  • Staff or volunteers must not consume liquor or be under the influence of liquor or drugs while on duty.


  • The licensee must provide a minimum of one (1) adult supervisor for every 50 patrons in attendance. In addition, there must be at least one (1) adult supervisor at each entrance and exit. The ratio at food fairs, is one (1) supervisor for every 200 patrons in attendance.

Service areas and hours

  • Liquor service is limited to the area(s) and hours as defined on your liquor licence.
  • All liquor must be cleared from patron areas by 3 a.m.
  • For Commercial Public Special Events: a patron can be served or have in their possession only two (2) standard drinks after 1 am.

Removal of liquor from licensed area

  • It is prohibited for patrons to remove liquor from the licensed area.

Liquor dispensing

  • All liquor must be served in its original container (beer, coolers) or measured using an appropriate measuring device.
  • Patron self-service is prohibited.
  • Licensees cannot offer: free drinks, all you can drink for a fixed price, or multiple drink specials (i.e.: '2-for-1', '3-for-1' etc.)

ProServe and ProTect

  • At Commercial Public Special Events, all individuals involved in the sale or service of liquor (including ticket sellers) must successfully complete ProServe training before the event. Security personnel will also require valid ProTect training prior to the event.

Where can you get a Special Event liquor licence?

Special event liquor licences can be obtained from retail liquor stores, general merchandise liquor stores, or general off-sales rooms. Check for the closest liquor store.

Special Event Licence fees

  • Private non-sale licence: $10.00
  • Private resale licence:    $25.00

NOTE: Retail liquor stores, general merchandise liquor stores and general off sales rooms may charge a service fee of up to $2.00.


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