Legalities around displaying drinks prices

Information outlined: Poppleston Allen lays out the legal stance when it comes to displaying drinks prices (image: Getty/Push)
Information outlined: Poppleston Allen lays out the legal stance when it comes to displaying drinks prices (image: Getty/Push)

Related tags Licensing Legislation Health and safety

The law on displaying prices for alcoholic drinks was changed some years ago with the introduction of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

There is now a general obligation to give sufficient information to customers at the point of sale, so they can make an informed choice and are not misled on prices. Providing the nature of drinks in a manner which is unclear or failing to provide information that is necessary, including the price, in a timely fashion before a transactional decision is made may amount to a misleading omission.

If customers are not informed about prices prior to placing an order they may have the right to refuse to accept and pay for drinks (for example where they have purchased some drinks and the price charged is excessively more than the customer would reasonably expect to have to pay.

Information displayed

Where you have beer pumps and ‘optic’ stands you should ensure the advertising signs attached to these accurately indicate the brand of drink being dispensed. Don’t call something Bacardi if it’s plain old white rum, for example. If you regularly change your guest beers then keep an eye on what the signs on the beer pumps say.

How or where you display the information is not prescribed but it should be clear and provided in a timely manner to assist the consumer in deciding on what drink to buy. The best way to ensure that customers are given the required information is by the use of detailed menus or clearly displayed price lists, so there is sufficient information to enable the average consumer to make an informed decision before they are committed to a purchase.

Pubs, bars and restaurants should show the price list in a prominent location at the bar where orders are taken and/or at tables where customers may be seated. So customers are informed from the outset, prices could be displayed in your window or entrance to your premises.

Informed choice

Menus and price lists must include all material information required by an average consumer to make an informed choice, which may include the following:

  • Accurate description of the name, brand of the drink including alcoholic strengths where appropriate.
  • Prices, inclusive of VAT. It must also be made clear if you have a compulsory service charge, a cover charge or a minimum charge per customer.
  • Quantity of drink served, where appropriate.

To fail to show all or part of the information necessary, or to provide misleading information, may be regarded as an unfair trading practice and constitute an offence.

Separately, as you know one of the Mandatory Conditions under licensing law requires you to also make the availability of smaller measures for beer, wine and cider, and spirits such as gin, whiskey, rum and vodka clear in your printed material such as menus and/or price lists.

Related topics Licensing law

Related news

Show more


Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more

The MA Lock In Podcast

Join us for a Lock In