Auckland Draft Local Alcohol Policy – SOBA’s Concerns

Auckland Local Alcohol Policy
The Auckland Local Alcohol Policy is a very important issue which will shape the future of the city’s beer culture. The Auckland City Council has released their draft proposal, and public submissions are open until 4pm on Wednesday the 16th of July.

The draft Local Alcohol Policy contains clauses which SOBA believes will restrict the growth of the Auckland beer scene, and should be a concern for all beer drinkers in Auckland. SOBA is urging all members to submit their concerns about the policy to the council before the deadline is up.

The full draft  Local Alcohol Policy is available to view here(4MB pdf), and the online submission form can be found here.

Specifically, SOBA is concerned about the following sections:

 

7.3.1 Additional matters to be considered for discretionary conditions for special licences

– Special licences could have conditions applied such as restriction on size and strength of alcohol, no of drinks sold per person, restriction on type of vessels, progressive closing times (could include restrictions on number of beverages allowed per transaction). In particular restrictions on beer with more than 6% ABV

Potential Problems:
– Could have a huge impact on Auckland beer festivals

– Puts brewers who specialise in higher ABV beers at disadvantage

– Will possibly restrict the variety of beers available

–  The practical impact of such restrictions will make beer festivals run inefficiently. This will discourage beer festival organisers from holding their festivals in the Auckland region.

– All the “could” and “may” leaves it very open for individual interpretation, makes it hard to plan events when you don’t know what may or may not be approved
“5.5.2. Restrictions on single unit sales (off license) The licensee must not sell single units of mainstream beer, cider or RTDs in less than 445ml packaging. Boutique and handcrafted beer and cider are exempt from this provision.”

Potential Problems:

– Forcing consumers to buy more alcohol at one time is counter-intuitive

– The council’s definition of “Boutique and handcrafted beer & cider” is incredibly vague. Any definition by Auckland council will restrict aspects of the hugely diverse range of beer now available in Auckland.

– It is SOBA’s view that “Boutique and handcrafted” is impossible to fairly define.

 

“6.3.2. (discretionary condition) Shots, shooters, high strength mixed drinks with more than 45mls of spirit/liqueur in one serve, beer with more than 6% alcohol by volume and RTDs with more than 6% alcohol by volume must not be sold or supplied after 12am (midnight).

&

4.5.2. (discretionary condition) Shots, shooters, high strength mixed drinks with more than 45mls of spirit/liqueur in one serve, beer with more than 6% alcohol by volume and RTDs with more than 6% alcohol by volume must not be sold or supplied at the following times:

(a) Within the last hour before closing for premises open until 1am or 2am; and

(b) Within the last two hours before closing for premises open after 2am.”

Potential Problems:

– Discourages venues with this condition in their liquor license from diversifying their beer ranges. This will slow the development of Auckland’s beer culture.

– Brewers whose range of beers tend to be over 6% will be put at a significant commercial disadvantage.

– Prevents many styles of beers being available after certain hours at premises with this condition in their liquor license.

– Clashes with Auckland’s “The show never stops” slogan.

– Discriminates against beer drinkers – why is wine exempt? Wine & 6%+ ABV beer are drunk at a similar rate.

 

General comment: SOBA would also like the council to acknowledge why many common forms of alcohol are specifically mentioned in the LAP, but not wine. Why are specific conditions being applied to beer, yet (much higher ABV) wine is being ignored?

SOBA will be making these concerns known through our own submission, but we urge you to submit your own concerns to the Auckland Council. SOBA has singled out the sections which single out beer specifically, but you may find issue with other parts of the draft proposal. The more voices submitting to the council the better.

About David
SOBA Website Admin, Former SOBA President (2013-2016), Former SOBA Committee Member (2011-2013)

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