PROMOTION OF ALCOHOL

‘Providing food has been interpreted as meaning that the food must be “substantial”, but that does not mean that the licensee needs to provide ‘restaurant quality’ food. In this respect, prepacked, oven or microwave heated food may suffice.’

There are a few key requirements that all on and club licence holders need to comply with under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act. These day to day requirements include:

Food
The law provides that all on and club licence must have available “at all times” a “reasonable range of food” “in portions suitable for a single customer” which is “at reasonable prices” and “within reasonable time of being ordered”.

Providing food has been interpreted as meaning that the food must be “substantial”, but that does not mean that the licensee needs to provide ‘restaurant quality’ food. In this respect, pre-packed, oven or microwave heated food may suffice.

Water
It will not come as a surprise that drinking water needs to be provided, at no cost, within the licensed premises. No charge can be made for providing drinking water. It is also necessary to provide a vessel (i.e a glass or cup) free of charge from which the water can be consumed.

Non-alcoholic beverages
The law requires the availability of non-alcoholic beverages. Specifically the legislation says that any on licence or club licence operator must have a reasonable selection of non-alcoholic drinks available at a reasonable price.

Low alcohol drinks
The law also requires the availability of low alcohol beverages for sale and consumption on an on licence or club licence premises.

Promotions
The law provides new and significant restrictions on how promotions can be undertaken by licence premises regardless of the type of licence held. The restrictions in their current form are relatively recent.

Promotions must not:
• Do anything to encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol.
• Offer free alcohol unless it cannot be seen or heard from the premises.
• Offer discounts on alcohol of more than 25% below price “ordinarily sold”.
• Offer “prizes” on the condition of alcohol purchase. The law does allow for some promotion of alcohol internal (i.e. within the licence premises) where that marketing cannot be seen outsider the premises, though there are of course some restrictions on this also.

Nick Fagerlund, Legal Advisor, Hospitality NZ
0800 500 503