We are responsible for offering permits to manufacturers that produce beverage alcohol and those that require ethanol for business purposes. We also provide permits for the warehousing and retailing of beverage alcohol in the province.
To direct you through the process of obtaining a permit, we have highlighted our most common permit types and included details on how to proceed through the permitting process. Please review the options below and choose the type of permit that meets your needs. Once you are ready you can start your permit application online.
For more information, please reach out to the Permits Office, 8:30 am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday at 902-450-5914 or by email at Permits@MyNSLC.com.
We offer the following manufacturing permits that allow you to produce and retail beverage alcohol in the Province:
- Brewery Permit - Non-Grape Farm Winery – (Cider/Mead)
- Distillery Permit - Winery Permit (Grape)
- Farm Winery (Grape) - Non-Grape Winery Permit
Information and requirements for manufacturing please visit our Policies and Guidelines page.
Manufacturer Offsite Retail Store
Off-site retails stores allow you to sell your product for offsite consumption and provide small samples to customers at events outside of your manufacturing facility.
Since April 1, 2021, Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco (AGFT) issues all Manufacturer Offsite Retail Store permits on behalf of the NSLC. Any Manufacturer looking to apply must fill out an application form and submit it to AGFT for processing. You can access more details and the application form here.
Applications may take up to 10 business days for processing.
Manufacturers in Nova Scotia wishing to participate in an event where beverage alcohol will be sold for consumption elsewhere (i.e., at home), must meet the following criteria:
- All Manufacturers present at the event are required to have an Onsite Retail Store Permit to be eligible for a Manufacturers Offsite Retail Store Permit.
- The sale, and potential sampling, of beverage alcohol must be part of an established event.
- The event must be sponsored by a person or an organization that is not directly related to the beverage alcohol industry.
- This means that as a Manufacturer you can’t organize your own event.
- The purpose of the event(s) must be to promote Nova Scotia’s tourism industry, agricultural industry, the food and beverage industry, or other economic development approved by the NSLC.
- The event cannot exceed 5 days in length unless prior approval by the NSLC is received.
If your event doesn’t meet these criteria, please find more information below about Special Occasion Licenses from Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco (AGFT) and samplings/tastings.
Manufacturer Hospitality Rooms
Hospitality rooms allow you to sell and sample your product for onsite consumption in a designated area of your manufacturing facility.
Since April 1, 2021, Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco (AGFT) issues all Manufacturer Hospitality Room permits on behalf of the NSLC. Any Manufacturer looking to apply must fill out an application form and submit it to AGFT for processing. You can access more details and the application form here.
Applications may take up to 10 business days for processing.
Special Occasion Licenses
Individuals, businesses, charities, religious organizations, and non-profit community organizations need a Special Occasion Liquor License (Class 1 or 2) to serve or sell beverage alcohol at an event. Charities, religious organizations, and non-profit community organizations need a Special Occasion Liquor License (Class 3) to sell beverage alcohol at a community-based fundraising event.
More information can be found on Nova Scotia's Special Occasions Liquor License webpage. You can also download the Special Occasions Liquor License FAQs.
Please note applications may take up to 10 business days for processing.
Tasting and Sampling permits allow organizations to engage in product exploration or promotion where beverage alcohol cannot be normally be consumed.
Sampling permits are available to manufacturers, distributors, or brokers for the purposes of education or product promotion. This permit enables you to promote your product in a safe and responsible way at events or locations where retailing may not be desired or permitted.
No fees may be charged for a sample.
Tasting permits are available to societies and organizations for the purposes of education or exploring new beverage alcohol products. We are committed to providing the resources for you to be responsible stewards of beverage alcohol.
Fees may be charged for the overall experience, such as a cooking class, but fees cannot be collected for the beverage alcohol sample.
We offer a variety of permits for local businesses that require beverage alcohol or ethanol for medicinal/health purposes, laboratory and scientific purposes, food preparation, and religious events.
These activities require one of the following permits:
- Food Industry and Food Manufacturers
- Gift Baskets
- Mechanical and Scientific
- Nursing Homes
- Physicians (including Veterinarians)
- Sacramental Wine (importation and distribution)
Please contact the Permits Office at Permits@MyNSLC.com to learn more before proceeding with your application
Agents and Registered Representatives
Agents and Registered Representatives can engage in the promotion of beverage alcohol in the Province, including the facilitation of sales to retailers and licensees. Out of Province manufacturers and their representatives must be a Registered Representative to do business with the NSLC and to promote their product in Nova Scotia.
As of January 1, 2022, local manufacturers with an active permit are no longer required to license their employees through Service Nova Scotia as Registered Representatives. If you choose to use a third-party agency to represent your brand, you are still required to have Registered Representatives.
Local Manufacturers who are not using a third-party agency are asked to provide the Permits Office with the name and contact information of a minimum one (1) employee who will act as a Representative for the company. This should be submitted with your annual permit application and can be updated at any time by contacting the Permits Office at Permits@MyNSLC.com.
Agent Permit Information
As of April 1, 2021, Agents are no longer required to obtain an Agency Permit from the NSLC.
If you are interested in representing beverage alcohol products and would like to list and retail your products through the NSLC and/or our other retail channels, please follow the steps below:
- Register your business with the Registry of Joint Stocks
- Register your employees as Registered Representatives
- We have partnered with Service Nova Scotia to administer registered representative permits. Service Nova Scotia administers all aspects of the renewal process including reminders, payments, and permit preparation.
- Access HERE
- Once on the Service Nova Scotia site, please select “Licenses, Permits and Applications”. Next, use the keyword “Registered Representative” and select your municipality. This will take you to a new page where you can click the “Complete Form Online”.
- If you’re registering someone who does not live in Nova Scotia, please select “Halifax” in the drop-down menu.
- Please include a letter on company letterhead, confirming the person works for the company.
Please Note: Registering your employees to work in Nova Scotia does not guarantee that the products you wish to represent will receive a listing with the NSLC or our other retail channels.
Private Retail Inquiries: Private Wine Specialty Stores (PWSS) and NSLC Agency Stores
The NSLC Board of Directors and the Nova Scotia Provincial government must give their approval before a PWSS or NSLC Agency location can open. In both cases, new locations will be chosen through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The RFP process will explain what details are required as part of the application process. More information about the RFP process, including active RFPs, can be found on the Provincial Government’s Procurement website