What do you need to know in light of changes to liquor legislation?

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Working in the hospitality industry, you are probably already aware of the recent changes to the Liquor Act 1992 with the purpose of combating rapid intoxication and alcohol-related harm. This will not only have a significant effect on the way late-night club-goers consume their alcohol, but will have a far greater impact on those of us in the hospitality industry – namely those working behind the bar.

Anyone who is serving or selling alcohol needs to be fully aware of what this legislation means for them – the restrictions in place as well as the consequences of not abiding by them. So what do you need to know before the new legislation comes into effect on 1st July?

At a venue with approved trading hours, you cannot sell or supply rapid intoxication drinks between midnight and 5am.

A rapid intoxication drink is defined as one that is designed to be consumed rapidly or contains a high percentage of alcohol. More specifically these include:

  • Any drink served in a small glass or container, such as shooters, shots, bombs, test tubes and jelly shots.
  • A drink prepared on the premises that contains more than 45ml of spirits or liqueur.
  • Pre-mixed drinks which contain more than 5% of ethyl alcohol (ethanol) or which contain more ethanol than two standard drinks. A pre-mixed drink must have less than 5% alcohol by volume and contain less than two standard drinks to permit it to be served after midnight.

Cocktails, however, are not included in this restriction and can be served after midnight, provided that:

  • The venue has a document, such as a cocktail menu, that is displayed on the premises. This document must list all the cocktails that are available to be purchased and their prices.
  • The drink is not sold for less than the price which is specified on the document.
  • The drink is not designed for rapid consumption. For example, cocktail shooters are not exempt.

If a venue sells or supplies rapid intoxication drinks during the restricted period, they can be fined 100 units.

After the changes come in effect, you may come across patrons who are unaware of the new legislation. If a customer does attempt to order a drink that is banned after midnight, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Calmly explain the reason for refusal
  2. Point out any posters or signs that are displayed behind the bar to reinforce your decision
  3. Offer the patron drinks that do not encourage rapid intoxication and can be consumed after midnight

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