Drink Talking: Jon Collins

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Should glass be removed from all venues or is each case different asks Jon Collins, chief executive of the Bar Entertainment and Dance Association...

Should glass be removed from all venues or is each case different asks Jon Collins, chief executive of the Bar Entertainment and Dance Association (BEDA).

At Creamfields I am happy to drink from a plastic bottle, at Babycream I want a glass, at the Liverpool Academy its probably plastic, but for drinks at the Living Room only glass will do.

Each of these venues offer radically different experiences with different customer expectations and operating environments. So why then are some authorities looking to introduce blanket restrictions on glass bottles across all venues in their area?

Councils and police forces from across Devon and Cornwall came together to discuss a potential ban on glass bottles across the two counties. While no doubt well intentioned, this ban would prove divisive and impractical, and would not actually reduce the risk of disorder - merely limit the choice of weapon.

A blanket condition would also fall foul of the Licensing Act. By ignoring differences between venues and the operator's track record, councils would be penalising good operators alongside bad, damaging their relationship with responsible operators.

Far better to let operators move across to plastic at their own pace and where appropriate. The arguments for making the switch grow stronger by the day - product range is better than ever. Plastic bottles now have a longer shelf life and feel better in the hand. Taking glass out can win problem premises brownie points with the police and council and even deliver an insurance saving. Cost is still a factor, with plastic more expensive, but that difference should erode over time.

The late night licensed trade can be volatile and unpredictable but it is also vibrant and exhilarating.

The new Act should be about using targeted enforcement to tackle problem premises while leaving good operators alone to get on with making a profit. We are a diverse industry, catering for a wide range of needs. Please do not seek to impose one size fits all regulation.

Related topics: Legislation

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