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Legal Q&A: wine measures and responding to council licensing policy

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Take measures: sales of bottles are exempt
Take measures: sales of bottles are exempt

Related tags Beer Alcoholic beverage Public house

The latest legal Q&A from specialist licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen covers wine measures and responding to council licensing policies.

Have your say on council’s licensing policies

Q. I have received a letter from my local council saying it is undertaking a consultation regarding its statement of licensing policy and asking whether I want to contribute. I am not sure what this document is or how I should respond. Is it worth my time?

A: Absolutely. Every local authority is legally bound to publish a statement of licensing policy, which sets out how it will approach licensing decisions within its area.

Among other things, the policy will include guidance on licensing applications, matters the authority will expect applicants to address and whether they have adopted any special policies. This may include a cumulative impact policy, which is a presumption to refuse new licences and material variations in specified areas. Some authorities also have policies regarding specified licensing hours, where any applications for licensable activities outside those hours will receive greater scrutiny and are more likely to result in a committee hearing for a decision.

It is your area and your opportunity to have a say in how licensing will be managed. You need to carefully review the draft policy and if you would like your views to be heard, now is the time to do so. Once the policy has been adopted, it will be too late, as a policy will remain in force for up to five years. If, for example, you had big plans to extend a late-night operation and the council was looking to introduce a cumulative impact policy to which your application would be contrary, then you may want to either get a move on with your application or raise objection to the introduction of such a policy that would inevitably make your application harder to get through. Poppleston Allen has a tracker of all cumulative impact policies in the country that can be found on our app.

Wine by the glass must be available in 125ml measure

Q. I have just had a licensing inspection and the officer told me I need to offer wine in measures of 125ml. I currently offer wine in 175ml and 250ml glasses. Is this correct and do I need to have any special glassware?

A: There is a mandatory condition that applies to all premises licences requiring still wine in a glass to be available in the smaller 125ml measures. You should ensure these measures are available.

You also need to display the fact you have these measures on your menus, price lists or other printed material, which may include a blackboard behind the bar. In addition, if a customer does not specify the quantity of alcohol they want, for example, if they simply ask for a glass of red wine, you need to make them aware that the smaller measure is available.

The requirement to provide smaller measures does not apply to wine sold by the bottle only; it only applies to still wine sold by the glass. You don’t need any special glassware necessarily, however, you should ensure you have the appropriate equipment to accurately pour the measures. You should ensure you comply with the mandatory condition or you will be in breach of your premises licence and risk enforcement action which may include a review of the premises licence. If you are in doubt or find yourself in the process of enforcement action, you should certainly take legal advice.

For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website​.

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