< BACK TO ARTICLE LIST

MAJOR OVERHAUL ON THE SALE AND SUPPLY OF ALCOHOL - HOW THE NEW REGULATIONS WILL IMPACT YOUR BUSINESS!

SECTION 23 OF PUBLIC HEALTH (ALCOHOL) ACT 2018 – BAN ON ALCOHOL PROMOTIONS!

11 January 2021, has been appointed as the day, which will significantly change the landscape of how alcohol is offered for sale in supermarkets, off-licences, pubs, restaurants and hotels.

What are the new restrictions on alcohol promotions and the sale of alcohol under the Public Health (Alcohol) Act?

  • Ban on alcohol being sold at a reduced price or free of charge on the basis of the purchase of another product or service;
  • Ban on short term (3 days or less) price promotions on alcohol products;
  • Loyalty points or any similar benefit cannot be awarded for alcohol purchases; and
  • Loyalty points cannot be used to buy alcohol at a reduced price or free of charge.

What impact will the restrictions have on the way alcohol is promoted in a licensed premises including Pubs, Restaurants and Hotels?

  • Ban licensed premises from selling alcohol at a reduced price or supplying alcohol free of charge for a limited period i.e. midweek/weekend specials;
  • Licensed premises will also not be permitted to hold promotional nights to attract customers such as ‘Happy Hour’, ‘Students Night’ or buy ‘1 get 1 free’;
  • Prohibit licensed premises who offer a free or reduced price drink with food such as ‘bottomless brunch’ or 3 course ‘early bird’ with a bottle of wine.

What impact will the restrictions have on the promotion of alcohol in Supermarkets and Off Licences?

1. Alcohol Promotions:
Any promotions advertising the sale of alcohol such as:-

– 2 bottles for €50.00 or
– 6 bottles for the price of 5 or
– spend €50 receive €10 back or
– purchase a ‘Meal Deal’ including a bottle of wine.

will no longer be permitted.

2. Promotions Reducing Alcohol for a Limited Period:
Any alcohol promotions which reduce the price of alcohol for 3 days or less will also be banned. This restriction will remove the ability of retailers to offer weekend promotions of alcohol or the launching of new products at a reduced price.

3. Loyalty Schemes:
Supermarkets will need to update and amend their current EPOS systems and loyalty programmes to ensure that awards are not given for the sale of alcohol or used when buying alcohol.

Similarly, Stand Alone Off Licences who offer customer loyalty rewards/schemes will need to review their loyalty programmes to determine what changes need to be made.

Do the restrictions apply to online sales?

  • Yes, licence holders will no longer be permitted to carry out reduced price promotions online or operate any loyalty schemes in association with alcohol.
  • For the purpose of the regulations, the remote sale of alcohol is deemed to take place where the agreement for sale takes place. However, if the agreement for sale takes place outside of Ireland but the alcohol is dispatched in Ireland, the sale is deemed to take place at premises where the alcohol is dispatched from.

Do the restrictions apply to wholesale sales?

  • No, the restrictions do not apply to wholesale sales on foot of a spirit, beer or wine wholesale licence. A wholesale dealer’s licence entitles you to sell alcohol in specified bulk quantities. The licences can be held singly or in conjunction with other wholesale licences.

A. Spirit wholesale dealer’s licence allows you to sell not less than:-
1. 9.092 litres; or
2. If selling bottles, you must sell 12 bottles containing at least .758 litres each.
A spirit wholesale licence can be applied for through Revenue, which takes about 8 weeks.

B. Wine wholesale dealer’s licence allows you to sell not less than:-
1. 9.092 litres; or
2. If selling bottles, you must sell 12 bottles containing at least .758 litres each.
A wine wholesale licence can be applied for through Revenue, which takes about 8 weeks.

C. Beer wholesale dealer’s licence allows you to sell both beer and cider in quantities not less than:-
1. 20.457 litres; or
2. If selling bottles/cans, you must sell 24 bottles/cans containing at least .758 litres each, which amounts to 18.192 litres.
A beer wholesale licence must be applied for in your local District Court.

  • Many of the bigger Supermarkets and Off Licences who hold wholesale licences will be able to provide promotions for sale of alcohol in wholesale quantities and also offer loyalty schemes for their wholesale customers.

What are the penalties for breaching the regulations regarding alcohol promotions and loyalty schemes?
If a licence holder is found guilty of an offence, they will be liable to the following substantial fines and/or at risk of a custodial sentence:-

1. on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000.00, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both, or;
2. on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €250,000.00 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years, or both, or;
3. Temporary closure order which is an order on conviction to close the premise for not more than 7 days for a first offence, and not less than 7 days but not more than 30 days for a second or subsequent offence.

  • The regulations also state that the directors/officers of the company are liable to prosecution for any breach of the regulations by the licence holder.
  • The licence holder is also liable to pay the costs and expenses incurred by the prosecution in relation to the investigation, detection and prosecution of the offence.

Please click here to view the Section 23 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 in full. 

If you wish to discuss any of the above in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact one of our licensing team who will be happy to assist you.

Compton Solicitors will continue to provide updates on the remainder of the regulations that are yet to commence under the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018.

This document is intended to provide a general overview and guidance on a particular topic. It is provided wholly without any liability or responsibility on the part of Compton Solicitors and does not replace the necessity to obtain specific legal advice.

Please contact Lorraine Compton or Fiona Tonge for more information: –
• Lorraine Compton on 086 – 253 4651 or

lorraine.compton@comptonsolicitors.ie

• Fiona Tonge on 089 – 471 4128 or

fiona.tonge@comptonsolicitors.ie

We Can Help You To Better Understand What Business You Can Carry Out During The Covid 19 Emergency Period:

Liquor Licensing is a complex and multi faceted process.
We pride ourselves on providing a simple, non technical road map with a speedy timeline for completion of the project. Along the way, we will liaise directly with architects and accountants to leave you free to concentrate on your business.