Do Spas Need an Alcohol Beverage License to Serve Free Drinks?

When it comes to professional business premises that are in the position to serve alcohol, it isn’t just the likes of restaurants, bars and nightclubs that are in the conversation, especially in California. From hair salons to nail bars, upmarket dress fitting stores and boutiques and more, there are plenty of establishments that might want to offer customers a complimentary beverage as part of an enhanced retail experience. Another example is a spa (high street or a concession), which might want to dispense drinks in the very same way that a luxury hair and beauty salon would.

If you are in the position of setting up a spa business and want to know exactly where you stand on this front, then here is some vital information that answers the question – do spas need an alcohol beverage license to serve drinks?


  • The answer, at the moment, is no! As of 2017, the state of California now exempts spas and salons from having to have a liquor license in order to serve alcohol to their customers. What this means is that spas are able to serve complimentary drinks of wine and beer to customers who are over the age of 21 during business hours. The strict requirement to stay within these regulations is that these drinks must be free of charge, of a certain liquid measure (6oz of wine and 12oz of beer) and they must not be hard spirits.


Before you decide to serve wine and beer at your spa, you might want to consider some of these things:


  • It is a good idea to have a discussion with your insurance agent to see exactly where you stand in terms of alcohol liability. It might increase your payments.


  • You might want to engage in an alcohol training program for you and your staff so that they feel comfortable with the business change. And this can also lead to the development of a policy that can be followed when serving customers.


  • Set up an official system that can be used to track the distribution of the alcohol in your business. This will help you to keep a really tight and controlled inventory. The last thing you want to do is start sinking a lot of hidden costs into alcohol that you are giving away for free to customers who are not paying any extra for the services they are there for.


  • Find a local alcohol retailer with whom to do business. Discounted wholesaler prices will be better for your bottom line than supermarket prices.


  • If you are operating in an area that has some peculiar or especially confusing alcohol laws or regulations, then you can cover yourself effectively by getting express approval and permission for your plans in the form of official writing from the local authorities. This is a good way to cement your legal position and avoid any potential misunderstandings that could negatively affect your business later down the line.


  • Even though we have already established that you do not need to apply for a traditional liquor license for complimentary spa drinks, you should always be prepared to have to go through a background check by authorities or councils that want to check everything is above board. If you are nervous about a background check, it might not be worth serving alcohol at all.

Hopefully this article has given you some of the answers that you were looking for, but if you want to go into even greater depth about the state of the liquor licenses in California, then the best thing to do is go to these guys for all of the availability and prices right now.


Welcome to the Night Helper Blog. The Night Helper Blog was created in 2008. Since then we have been blessed to partner with many well-known Brands like Best Buy, Fisher Price, Toys "R" US., Hasbro, Disney, Teleflora, ClearCorrect, Radio Shack, VTech, KIA Motor, MAZDA and many other great brands. We have three awesome children, plus four adorable very active grandkids. From time to time they too are contributors to the Night Helper Blog. We enjoy reading, listening to music, entertaining, travel, movies, and of course blogging.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *