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Happy Hour Promotion

Am I promoting an irresponsible drinks promotion?

Q: I have been offering pints of lager at a discounted price (50p less than the usual sale price) for a ‘happy hour’ on Monday to Wednesday from 6.00 pm until 8.00 pm. I have done this for several years. I have recently been told by a licensing officer that this is an irresponsible drinks promotion and a breach of a condition on my licence. Is this correct?

A: Almost certainly not. It is correct that you have a mandatory condition which requires you to ‘take all reasonable steps to ensure that staff….do not carry out….any irresponsible promotions in relation to the premises’.

A number of examples are given including the ‘provision of unlimited or unspecified quantities of alcohol free or for a fixed or discounted fee to the public’. It would appear that your ‘happy hour’ does provide an unlimited quantity of alcohol for a discounted fee but there are a number of provisos which will help you.

Firstly, you are discounting a longer drink for a two hour period at the beginning of the evening; secondly you have done this for a long period of time presumably without any difficulty. The condition states that the promotion is ‘irresponsible’ if it is carried on ‘to encourage the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises in a manner which carries a significant risk of leading to’ crime and disorder, prejudice to public safety, public nuisance or harm to children.

It should therefore be relatively easy for you to tell the licensing officer that this is a low risk long standing scheme without any history of difficulty and indeed in many community pubs this is an important part of business development. It is not therefore in any way ‘irresponsible’.

Carry on, business as usual.

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