Off-licence (sometimes known as off-sales or informally offie) is a term used in the United Kingdom and Ireland for a shop licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption off the premises, as opposed to a bar or public house which is licensed for consumption at the point of sale (on-licence).The term also applies to the licence granted to the establishment itself.Under the Licensing Act 2003 and the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, there is only one type of premises licence, though the conditions placed on each one will determine whether on sales or off sales (or both) are permitted.The premises licence is granted to a person, and not to the establishment.
Throughout the United Kingdom, the sale of alcohol is restricted—pubs, restaurants, shops and other premises must be licensed by the local authority.
After the outbreak of World War I the Defence of the Realm Act was passed by Parliament in 1914.
One section of the Act concerned the hours pubs could sell alcohol, as it was believed that alcohol consumption would interfere with the war effort.
However, legislation does allow for the consumption of alcohol by those under 18 in the following circumstances: The Licensing Act 2003 thoroughly revised and consolidated into one Act all the many separate legislative provisions that previously covered licensed premises in England and Wales.
The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 brought the same reforms to Scotland.