3. DRINKS PROMOTIONS
Off-sales: restriction on supply of alcoholic drinks free of charge or at reduced price
3.1 Premises licences and occasional licences contain a mandatory licence condition restricting irresponsible promotions. One of the ways in which a drinks promotion in respect of on-sales of alcohol can be irresponsible is if it "involves the supply of an alcoholic drink free of charge or at a reduced price on the purchase of one or more drinks (whether or not alcoholic drinks)." (paragraph 8(2)(b) of schedule 3 and paragraph 7(2)(b)of schedule 4 to the 2005 Act). Section 4 of the Alcohol Act amends the 2005 Act to extends the application of paragraph 8(2)(b) of schedule 3 and paragraph 7(2)(b) of schedule 4 to the 2005 Act to off-sales of alcohol. Examples of such promotions to which these paragraphs apply include:
- buy one, get one free
- three for the price of two
- five for the price of four, cheapest free
- 3 bottles of wine for £10
- buy six, get 20% off.
3.2 Paragraph 8(2)(e) of schedule 3 to the 2005 Act provides a licence condition in premises licences that a drinks promotion is irresponsible if it "encourages, or seeks to encourage, a person to buy or consume a larger measure of alcohol than the person had otherwise intended to buy or consume." This condition applies to on-sales and off-sales of alcohol. Section 4 of the Alcohol Act amends this so that it only applies to on-sales of alcohol. This means that drinks promotions encouraging persons to buy or consume larger measures will be restricted in relation to on-sales of alcohol. The reasoning behind this is that the use of the word "measure" was causing some confusion in an off-sales context as it is more associated with an on-sales environment.
Off-sales: location of drinks promotions
3.3 Section 5 of the Alcohol Act imposes the mandatory licence condition in premises licences restricting the display of alcohol that is for sale for consumption off the premises. This licence condition is set out in paragraph 13 of schedule 3 to the 2005 Act (inserted by the Licensing (Mandatory Conditions No. 2) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/546)). The 2005 Act requires that such alcohol can only be displayed in either or both of (1) a single area of the premises agreed between the Licensing Board and the holder of the licence and (2) a single area of the premises which is inaccessible to the public. These areas are known as "alcohol display areas". Paragraph 13(3) of schedule 3 provides an exemption from this restrictions for visitor attractions forming part of a manufacturing site and for visitor attractions that principally provide information about and promote the history and attributes of a particular alcoholic drink or a particular category of alcoholic drink.
3.4 Section 5(3) of the Alcohol Act inserts new sub-paragraphs into paragraph 13 of schedule 3 of the 2005 Act restricting the location of drinks promotions on the premises and prohibiting certain drinks promotions from taking place in the vicinity of the premises. These restrictions only apply to premises which, to the extent that they are used for the sale of alcohol, are used only or primarily for the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises. As amended, paragraph 13 provides that any drinks promotion undertaken in connection with alcohol sold on the premises for consumption off the premises may take place only in the alcohol display areas or in a tasting room. A tasting room "a room on the premises which is used for offering the tasting of any alcohol sold on the premises (for consumption off the premises) and the resulting tasting and is separate from those areas." (paragraph 13(1B)(b)).
Section 5(3) also amends paragraph 13 to prohibit drinks promotions in the vicinity of the premises if such promotions are "in connection with the premises". This means that a licence-holder will not breach the licence condition if there is a drinks promotion in the vicinity of the premises that is not in connection with the premises, for example, an advertisement for an alcoholic product over which the licensee had no control on a bus shelter outside the premises. The reasoning behind this is a recognition that not all drinks promotions within the vicinity of the licensed premises will be within the control of the premises licence-holder. The "vicinity" means the area extending 200 metres from the boundary of the premises as shown on the layout plan.
3.5 Section 5(4) and (5) of the Alcohol Act amends paragraph 13 to provide that the display of branded non-alcoholic products (products that bear a name or image of an alcoholic product such as football tops, slippers, tea towels etc.) which are not for sale may constitute a drinks promotion and, if so, may only be displayed in alcohol display areas or in a tasting room.
3.6 Newspapers, magazines and other publications which are not for sale may constitute a drinks promotion where they relate only or primarily to alcohol. In this instance, they must be in the alcohol display area. Where newspapers, magazines and other publications not for sale do not relate only or primarily to alcohol they may be displayed anywhere on the premises. Where branded non-alcoholic products and newspapers, magazines and other publications are for sale then they do not constitute a drinks promotion and so may be displayed anywhere in the premises and in the vicinity of the premises, including in alcohol display areas and any tasting room.
Email: alastair bowden