They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Sunday, 2 October 2011

And We Thought We Had It Bad!

... Well yes we do have it bad, but it seems Scotland has it much worse.

Yesterday (October 1st) a new set of laws were put in place in Scotland which is going to mean big change to retailers big and small, and it's not just beer that's getting the shaft this time (again).

Some of the new rules may sound good, some may sound bad, but you can be sure that, at the end of the day, they're all pointless.

The new rules have been covered in brief by Off Licence News magazine and is as follows:

Multiple purchase:

- No discounts allowed on bulk purchase of cans or bottles that are also sold singly - if a retailer sells one can for £1, it must sell four cans for no less than £4
- If it only sells single cans of 56.8cl, then a retailer can still discount multipacks of 50cl cans
- Extra alcohol supplied free, or at a reduced price, is not allowed, so no BOGOF or three-for-two deals
- Discounting of single bottles or cans is still allowed. Any price change must be made before 10am and must last at least 72 hours.

Online purchase:

- If drinks are dispatched from a warehouse in Scotland, then the new law applies
- Retailers based outside Scotland will still be able to offer by-the-case discounts on delivery to Scottish customers.


- Anything which "promotes, or seeks to promote, the buying of alcohol sold on the premises" can now only be displayed within the store's designated "alcohol display area"
- Window graphics stating that beer, wines and spirits are "sold here" may constitute a promotion in the eyes of individual licensing boards
- Any advertisement that is "solely or primarily" for alcohol is not allowed within 200m of a store
- If a delivery van is displaying a drinks promotion in connection with the premises, then it will not be allowed within 200m boundary of the premises
- Exemptions are in place for promotions over which retailers have no control.

Promotions combining food and alcohol:

- If an alcoholic product is packaged with a non-alcoholic product, such as a wine and cheese gift pack, the new law does not apply, and the price can be discounted
- Meal deals offering alcohol as part of the deal are not banned, but will be at the discretion of licensing boards to decide if in-store advertising of these constitutes irresponsible promotion.

Age verification policy:

- From October 1, retailers must adopt a Challenge 25 age verification policy as a minimum standard. Licence holders are advised to have this policy in writing and available to staff.

Source: The Scottish Government's Guidance for Licensing Boards and the Scottish Grocers' Federation

Well! Bit of a bombshell to say the least. I like the part (that is if it were in place in England) that our delivery van would have to stay 200m away from our shop because it has pictures of beer on the sides! Wow! Great work guys, thanks for making our lives so much easier! I'm really tying not to break into rant mode about this, it would be pointless words really, I'll leave it up to you fine folks to make up your minds about it.

Of course these new laws don't apply to us in England. However if they are seen to 'work' in Scotland by the government (which they probably will) then it could only be a matter of time before they are put in place in England.

All this coupled with the fact that the Scottish government has plans to introduce an extra business rate levy on supermarkets that sell alcohol, in April 2012, can only spell one thing at the end of the day....


  1. "Online purchase:

    - If drinks are dispatched from a warehouse in Scotland, then the new law applies
    - Retailers based outside Scotland will still be able to offer by-the-case discounts on delivery to Scottish customers."

    This helps to explain why Brewdog moved their warehouse south of the border then!

  2. Another potential downside of this is that, currently people buying beer may be willing to try something unfamiliar to fill up their 4 for £5.50 deal, but if all bottles have to be priced individually they may be more likely to stick to the tried and trusted.

  3. All my Scottish colleagues are very unhappy about these new laws, in fact the platform was almost in revolt over them.It seems ridiculous to me.

    Another nail in the coffin!

  4. I guess people in Carlise can no look forward to queuing up behind a long line of Jocks?

  5. I'm going to stop reading this blog now. Thanks. Too Depressing.