Irresponsible alcohol promotions attract fines of up to $5,000: OLGR

01 September, 2015 by
Aoife Boothroyd

The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) is targeting venues that engage in reckless alcohol promotions such as the serving of cocktails in milk bottles, plastic bags and giant martini glasses as well as the sale of spirit infused lollies.

Throughout 2014 and 2015, OLGR has investigated 101 promotions that have been deemed to encourage reckless alcohol consumption and director of compliance and enforcement, Anthony Keon says that 44 cases have resulted in formal bans or restrictions. The remaining 57 cases have been resolved following intervention and advice from OLGR officers.

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Keon says that all licensed venues are required to serve alcohol responsibly as per NSW’s liquor laws and that OLGR will continue to target venues that promote reckless drinking and intoxication for profit. Promotions that are deemed to be irresponsible will attract fines of up to $5,000. Venues will also face bans or restrictions on promotions and risk a strike under NSW's Three Strikes disciplinary scheme.

“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,” says Keon.

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“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.”

Examples of alcohol promotions investigated by OLGR

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  • 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 caf 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.