So, it’s no going to be slightly harder to get booze legally with the The Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 which kicks in tomorrow.
Most of it’s sensible enough stuff in principle, preventing anti-social behaviour, binge drinking and alcohol abuse – nothing to get too hot and bothered about, though whether there are the resources to enforce any of it is another question.
More importantly and fundamentally, can legislation affect our behaviour? The smoking ban did.
How does it affect wine shops?
Not a lot at first glance but wine shops could do well to keep an eye on how the following excerpts play out:
In mixed trading premises (supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations) alcohol products must be displayed and sold in a specified area which is structurally separated from the rest of the premises.
Where such separation is not technically feasible, alcohol products other than wine must be displayed and sold from a part of the premises where public access is prohibited, e.g. from behind a counter. The mixed trading sector has offered to implement a strict Code of Practice as an alternative to implementation of these statutory provisions.
I’m not sure if there is a definition as to what exactly constitutes “mixed trading”. In any event, it’s not kicking in tomorrow.
Section 9 of the Act, which relates to the structural separation of alcohol in supermarkets and convenience stores, is also not being commenced at this time. The Minister has agreed to the introduction of a voluntary Code of Practice to achieve the same effect as Section 9 but has reserved the option of commencing this section if voluntary approach is not effective.
Restrictions and regulations on special offers
This next piece looks like a potential pain in the ass:
Restrictions on the advertising and supply of alcohol products at reduced prices or free of charge will be introduced by means of regulations; reduced price includes the use of bonus points or loyalty cards for the purchase of alcohol products
It’s not clear what these restrictions or regulations will be and if they spell the end for special offers, loyalty cards etc.
Much ado about nothing?
Looks as if there’s nothing to worry about, at least not until the more comprehensive Sale of Alcohol Bill is published later in the year and of course when the upcoming budget increases excise duty (recession, belt-tightening, addressing public disorder yadda-yadda).