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​Reckless alcohol promotions targeted

Monday 31 August 2015        [PDF,190kb]


Cocktails served in milk bottles and plastic bags, vodka infused lollies, giant martini glasses and the sale of alcoholic shots from buckets are among irresponsible alcohol promotions detected at NSW licensed venues in the past year.

In 2014/15, the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) investigated 101 promotions deemed to encourage reckless drinking and intoxication.

OLGR Director of Compliance & Enforcement Anthony Keon said 44 cases resulted in formal bans or restrictions on promotions with the remainder resolved satisfactorily following intervention and advice from OLGR officers.

"All licensed venues are required to serve alcohol responsibly in a safe and well regulated environment and we will continue to target the small minority of venues that promote reckless drinking and intoxication for the sake of profits," Mr Keon said.

"We are not about stifling business innovation or healthy competition but setting clear expectations for the conduct of liquor promotions which can significantly influence how patrons consume alcohol and behave on licensed premises.

"Irresponsible and poorly managed promotions can contribute to alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and violence, community disturbances, and health impacts for individuals and undermine the development of a sustainable and responsible liquor industry."

Under NSW liquor laws, licensed venues must demonstrate responsible sale, supply, service and promotion of alcohol.

Mr Keon said OLGR proactively monitors irresponsible alcohol promotions including on venue websites and through social media channels.

Irresponsible promotions will face bans or restrictions with fines of $5,500 for failing to comply and strikes under the Three Strikes disciplinary scheme.

OLGR publishes

Liquor Promotion Guidelines to advise on promotions which should not encourage excessive, rapid or irresponsible drinking; be offensive or indecent; target or appeal to minors under the age of 18; or be out of step with general community standards.

EXAMPLES OF ALCOHOL PROMOTIONS INVESTIGATED BY OLGR IN 2014/15

  • A Petersham hotel serving cocktails in plastic bags and offering a competition for beer keg prizes. OLGR banned the beer keg competition and placed restrictions on the amount of spirits and/or liqueur that could be used in the plastic bags.
  • A Darlinghurst café offering giant martini glasses containing the equivalent of eight standard drinks. OLGR banned patrons drinking directly from the large glasses and required them only to be served to groups of at least eight people with individual drinking glasses.
  • A Taree hotel selling vodka-infused gummy bears and Barbie doll-themed cocktails. OLGR banned the venue from selling any alcohol-infused confectionary or promoting alcohol using characters that would appeal to minors under the age of 18.
  • A Darling Harbour venue serving shots from buckets. OLGR restricted the amount of spirits and/or liqueur that could be added to the buckets with the rest of the buckets to be filled with non-alcoholic liquid and/or ice, and required them to be labelled with the number of standard drinks they contained and restricted sales to one per customer.
  • A Sydney Harbour cruise promoting an Anzac Day "Ship Faced Cruise". OLGR banned the licensed vessel from using the title and any other promotional material encouraging excessive alcohol consumption.
  • A Newcastle hotel’s ‘win your weight in beer’ promotion with $50 and $100 bar tabs. OLGR banned the venue from running any competition that provided more than two free drinks per patron per trading period.
  • A beer skolling competition at a mid-North Coast hotel. The competition was banned.
  • Cocktails served in milk bottles at a Milperra venue. OLGR restricted the amount of spirits and/or liqueur that could be served in the bottles with the rest to be filled with non-alcoholic liquid and/or ice. The venue was also required to clearly label the milk bottles with the number of standard drinks they contain.
  • A Port Macquarie hotel’s competition for 20 schooners and four schooners every hour. OLGR banned the competition.

ENDS