Published: 07 March 2017
Q: I own a pub and following a recent refurbishment, and a more food-led focus as part of our operation, we have just updated our food menu to include some new desserts. As part of this new dessert menu we will be offering an alcoholic ice cream which has an ABV of 1%. Do we need to be doing anything other than putting all material information about the ice cream on the menu? For example, the manager has asked me if he needs to advise the staff as to the requirement to ask for ID when a customer orders the ice cream? Would the staff be required to do this?
A: Firstly, you are quite right to provide all material information about the ice cream (such as the name, accurate product description, alcoholic strength, price, etc) on the menu. Under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 there is now a general obligation to do this for products you sell, such as the ice cream in this case, so the customers can make an informed choice and so they are not misled.
Secondly, s191 of the Licensing Act 2003 defines alcohol as “Spirits, wine, beer, cider or any other fermented, distilled or spirituous liquor, but does not include, among other things, ‘alcohol which is of a strength not exceeding 0.5% of the sale or supply in question’.
Alcohol contained in ice cream is not specifically excluded under the Act (as opposed to alcohol in liquor confectionary which is) and, therefore, the alcohol contained in the ice cream would be classed as ‘alcohol’ under the Act as it is over 0.5 ABV.
Therefore legally, and best practice, is to treat the ice cream the same way as any other alcoholic drink.
That is, as a sale of alcohol with the associated conditions and restrictions including any required ID checks when it is ordered by anyone who looks under 18, or 21 or 25 if you operate a Challenge scheme
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