Luminar slammed over free drink offer

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

Luminar Leisure, the bar and nightclub operator, has been accused of encouraging speed drinking through some of its recent drinks promotions.The...

Luminar Leisure, the bar and nightclub operator, has been accused of encouraging speed drinking through some of its recent drinks promotions.

The latest, which offered Vodka Kick free to customers at its Liquid nightclub and Jumpin' Jaks in Gloucester, has been slammed as "totally irresponsible" by a local pub operator and a former councillor. They are concerned the promotions will cause more problems on the streets and will lay the blame for late-night disorder at the door of the pub trade.

These types of promotions have been criticised in the past for being irresponsible and encouraging binge-drinking among young pub-goers.

The Jumpin' Jaks site is charging £3 for entry on a Friday night between the hours of 8pm and 9.30pm when customers can drink Vodka Kick for free.

However, Liquid nightclub, which was offering a similar promotion, has been forced to withdraw it following pressure from the local council.

Richard Payne, a former councillor in the borough, wrote to Luminar Leisure raising his concerns. He said: "I find this to be totally irresponsible.

"All this kind of promotion does is encourage speed drinking which has a detrimental effect on the health of your customers, and can only worsen the current public order issues in our towns and cities."

Local pub operator Excelsior Leisure, which has three pubs in the town, also complained to Luminar and accused it of "hypocrisy". Operations director Stuart Hayles said: "At a time of major change in the industry, the bills on licensing and anti-social behaviour have continued to put blame on the industry for all the problems created by alcohol."

Luminar Leisure has denied claims that it is acting irresponsibly and in a statement to said: "After consultation with local police, Jumpin' Jaks is currently running a tightly controlled 'VK Heaven' promotion.

"This is not an irresponsible promotion as the time is limited, the only drink on offer has a low alcohol by volume content and there are strict rules to ensure no person drinks excessively. Drinks are not sold to people who appear intoxicated.

"As this is a responsible event involving only a low ABV product, a customer who has consumed four bottles of Vodka Kick is drinking only the equivalent of two pints of weak lager."

Steve Perez, managing director of GBL International, the maker of VK Vodka Kick, said: "I think in some ways Luminar is being more responsible as it is using a lower alcohol product. Vodka Kick is only four per cent alcohol."

Pictured: Luminar Leisure's Steve Thomas.

Scots committee findings:

Scottish licensees could be made more accountable for public disorder under proposals put forward by Nicholson Committee.

The committee, which was formed in 2001 by the Scottish Executive to review licensing laws north of the border, is about to publish its report after a two-year study. Information leaked to a Scottish newspaper revealed that more flexible opening hours and national training scheme for licensees could be introduced.

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