Posted: Tuesday, 12 October 2010 @ 13:01
My last blog talked about the last 2 new mandatory conditions which came into force on 1 October 2010, first of all requiring an age -verification policy where alcohol is sold, and secondly smaller measures of alcoholic drinks. Since then there has been some confusion over what these new conditions require. I have even seen advice from a licensing authority which is not only misleading but wrong!
The Home Office has issued a summary of these new measures with a suggested form of age verification policy to comply with that requirement. Look at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs/alcohol/alcohol-licensing-conditions/
But there is little information to add to the actual statutory regulations. They say that they will be amending the Guidance, but they may not rush into this as there is a suggestion that these new conditions will be scrapped in the anticipated legislation to be published this autumn. But in the meantime they are still the law and must be complied with until such time as they are scrapped.
The most confusion has been over the smaller measures. So let us look at bottled beer and cider. Here we are talking about such beers as Becks and Budweiser and all the host of bottled beers and ciders available. It would be absurd if you had to decant these into half pint glasses and dispose of any excess. And of course the regulations have taken this into account. They say “other than alcoholic drinks sold or supplied having been made up in advance ready for sale or supply in a securely closed container.” So in essence as far as beer and cider is concerned if you sell it by the bottle it does not matter what the bottle size is.
Turning to “Alcopops”. Again if they are ready made up in sealed bottles, these regulations do not apply.
As for wine, if you sell it by the glass then the small size must be available. But just because say you sell Merlot by the glass does not mean that you cannot restrict sales of some wine to the half or full bottle. It would be absurd if restaurants selling vintage wine were forced to offer it by the 125ml glass! But any wine you do offer by the glass must include a 125 measure.
On the matter of spirits, the smaller measure offered can be either 25ml or 35ml.
Turning to cocktail mixes, here the scenario is confusing. My view is that if you do offer gin rum and vodka or whisky in 25 ml or 35ml measures, that is all that is necessary. It does not mean that any cocktails with mixes must be provided with a minimum measure of 25ml or 35ml for each spirit. It would make the art of cocktail mixing far too complicated. But as I said we wait for clarification.
Lastly, you do not have to have 125 ml or half pint glasses. You can serve a half pint measure in a pint glass, and a 125ml measure in a larger glass.
Licensing Law Specialist
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