The Retail of Alcohol Standards Group (RASG) ‘Guidance for online retailers of alcohol’

The Retail of Alcohol Standards Group (RASG) ‘Guidance for online retailers of alcohol’

News | 18 May, 2023

To sell alcohol you need a license, whether the sale is in person, via a shop, a pub, a restaurant or online, through a catalogue or by telephone. The legal requirements, when selling alcohol to consumers in England and Wales, are contained in The Licensing Act 2003. However, as this Act was created before online sales became the norm, the provisions that relate to online trading are somewhat confusing and out of touch with sales methods available today.

The Retail of Alcohol Standards Group (RASG) ‘Guidance for online retailers of alcohol’ can help to reduce this confusion.

RASG is a panel of UK retailers committed to promoting the responsible retail of alcohol both in-store and online. Since its formation 15 years ago, they have been at the forefront of the responsible retailing of alcohol. They work with, and provide their expertise to:

  • Government
  • Local government representatives
  • Industry bodies
  • Trade associations
  • Other interested parties.

They keep abreast of current legal requirements, trends, and changes in order to offer practical advice and develop guidance and best practice to aid operational compliance.


RASG produced the first ‘Guidance for online retailers of alcohol’ in England and Wales in 2021. Their second, updated, version was published in 2022. All their guides are produced in collaboration with our Primary Authority Trading Standard partners.

Their guidance helps retailers who sell alcohol online by:

  • Explaining the legal position around distance sales of alcohol.
  • Identifying the different business models that operate in this space.
  • Detailing examples that all business models can adopt to enable them to operate in a compliant way.
  • Detailing examples of steps RASG members take for specific business models – depending on matters such as whether age verification has taken place prior to delivery or on delivery, whether delivery is to a person or to a safe space, and whether deliveries are made using employees or by contractors.

The guidance shows you how RASG members employ various checks, done at different times throughout the sales journey, to minimise the risk of alcohol being supplied to minors. We encourage other businesses to implement some of these checks to enable them to operate in a compliant way understanding that the checks implemented will vary from business to business, depending on the model of the business concerned and the resources available to them.


“Being an active and involved member of RASG helps to ensure we continue to sell alcohol responsibly. It gives us the opportunity to benchmark against how others ensure Compliance to regulation, and importantly, allows my colleagues and I to add to the evolving conversation regarding alcohol retailing in the UK. As a Licensing professional I am proud to support and contribute to RASG, membership and involvement adds value and alignment to my role.”

Neil Eccles – Senior Licensing Manager – Asda Stores Ltd


Current RASG members are:

The Association of Convenience Stores – Aldi – ASDA – Community Alcohol Partnerships – Co-op – Home Bargains – Iceland – Laithwaite’s Wine – Lidl – Marks & Spencer – One Stop – Sainsbury’s – Spar – Tesco – Uber Eats – Virgin Wines – Waitrose – The Wine Society – The Wine & Spirit Trade Association.

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