Published: 10 January 2017
Q: To keep the momentum going from a strong Christmas period I’m going to run a ‘January Sales’ promotion. I haven’t done this before but other pubs in the area have and it seems to work well for them. Are there any laws I need to be aware of?
A: Yes there are. The first thing you need to think about is irresponsible drinks promotions. Or more to the point: how to avoid them.
Certain promotions are banned outright as they go against the mandatory conditions on your Premises Licence. These are: the ‘dentist’s chair’, drinking games designed to encourage customers to drink as much as possible usually within a time period, and promotional materials that glamorise excessive drinks consumption. Two others may or not be banned, depending on whether they carry a significant risk of undermining one of the licensing objectives. They are: unlimited quantities of alcohol for free or at a discount, and rewards for the consumption of alcohol. And remember this covers both online as well as offline marketing.
I suggest if in doubt you err on the safe side and run your discounts / promotions past your local licensing officer for their opinion. I know this sounds like a bit of hassle, but it’s an awful lot better than getting it wrong and breaching one of your mandatory conditions; which in the worst case scenario can mean you end up facing a review of your premises licence. Something else you need to think about is the banning of selling alcohol below the ‘permitted price’, which is calculated by adding the duty and VAT together for each item.
As you can imagine this list is quite long given the amount of different alcohols, their strengths and sizes available. I suggest you either search online for guidance or download My Licence, our iPhone App that contains an easy-to-use calculator.
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