Licensing Hub – Legal with Poppleston Allen

Top tips: beware of drinks promotions

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Licensing conditions: as students return, ensure you know the rules
Licensing conditions: as students return, ensure you know the rules

Related tags Drinks promotions

September is here and the students are back. There will naturally be an increase in posters and flyers as well as social media advertisements for operators publicising promotions at their venues.

­The area of drinks promotions can be tricky, and if operators do not consider their promotions carefully, it can be easy to breach the mandatory licensing conditions that are part of the premises licence. ­This could lead to a review of the premises licence and/or prosecution.

Compliance with the mandatory conditions sits with the ‘responsible person’ who can be the premises licence holder, the designated premises supervisor (DPS) or an adult who is authorised by one of them.

­The mandatory conditions dealing with irresponsible drinks promotions require the responsible person to ensure that staff do not carry out, arrange or participate in irresponsible drinks promotions.

­There are a number of drink promotion categories. It can sometimes be di cult to determine which category your promotion falls and if your promotion would be considered irresponsible because this can be subjective.

Some promotion categories have an outright ban including:

  • Drinking games (or other activities) that encourage customers to drink as much alcohol as possible or to drink it within a time limit (normal drinking up time is excluded)
  • Dispensing alcohol directly by one person into the mouth of another (‘dentist’s chair’, for example)
  • Posters that can reasonably be considered to condone, encourage or glamorise antisocial behaviour or drunkenness

Other drinks promotions are regulated by mandatory conditions and are permitted only as long they do not constitute a significant risk to one of the licensing objectives.

The Home Office published guidance in 2014 to take into consideration when determining whether your proposed promotions would constitute a significant risk, and includes:

  • How big is the proposed discount?
  • For how long will the discount apply?
  • Is there likely to be a significant increase in customer numbers?
  • What is the pro le of the customer base?
  • Are the premises a high-volume vertical drinking establishment or a community pub, etc?
  • Have previous promotions been handled responsibly?
  • Has the licence been recently reviewed?
  • Have sufficient security measures been take in for any potential increase in the number of customers?

Additional points to consider are:

  • You must ensure any price promotions are compliant with the minimum pricing, which applies to all premises licences
  • Make sure you carefully review and monitor any promotional materials (including any online marketing) to make sure you are not in breach of the mandatory conditions think carefully about the words and images being used.
  • If you have any doubts about your promotion you should speak with your local police, licensing and environmental health officers and/or seek legal advice.

For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website

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