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News - 6 February 2005
Tempted to drink too much, too quickly?

Call to outlaw "All-you-can-drink" promtions

Pubs and bars could face the possibility of losing their licenses when a new code of practice is introduced to curtail promotions that encourage binge drinking.

The code, which has been agreed between the 40,000 members of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the government, is set to be introduced in November when licensing laws will be liberalised.

The voluntary code requests that promotions are limited to “standard, reasonable promotional activity” which will not encourage excessive drinking or accommodate drunkenness, antisocial behaviour or offend standards of common decency. This will outlaw promotions that have become commonplace in the high street such as “women drink for free”, “entrance fee covers all drinks” and “free spirits” between certain hours.

The cheap drink promotions are as much loathed by the pub and bar operators as they are by the government because they are regarded as expensive ‘loss leaders’ that just serve to maintain market share in an overcrowded and increasingly competitive high street. Hence a common feature of the promotions is to make them time limited.

The thrust of the agreement tries to address the problem of pubs and bars offering schemes and incentives that encourage people to drink large quantities quickly to take advantage of the promotion. It is the BPPA that has suggested that the voluntary code, which will only cover its members representing two thirds of the industry, is made part of the new licensing regime so that it becomes a specific condition of an alcohol licence. The Business Forum is keen to see all licensed premises in the city centre become part of the ‘nightsafe’ scheme operated by its Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) which could go a long way to alleviating some of the concerns about 24 hour drinking.

Read related items on:
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
Anti-social behaviour
Business Crime Reduction Partnership
Brighton & Hove Business Forum
British Beer & Pub Association

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