All Premises Licences currently have a number of mandatory conditions attached. It is proposed that on the 1 October 2014 amendments to the current mandatory conditions will come into force.
There are changes to the mandatory conditions relating to irresponsible drinks promotions albeit, for most operators, these are not thought to be significant on a practical level (although any operators who have run all-inclusive party nights which included a table meal may now have to think again).
The current requirement for free tap water to be provided is proposed to change to a requirement that the responsible person must ensure that free potable water is provided on request to customers where it is reasonably available. Operators without access to drinkable tap water and who sell bottled water should be aware that they will be expected to provide this free of charge.
What is more likely to have an impact on premises are the conditions in relation to small measures. Whereas previously the mandatory conditions stated that customers were to be made aware of the availability of such measures (e.g. 125 ml for still wine, 25 ml or 35 ml for gin, rum, vodka or whisky and half pints of beer and cider), the proposed new conditions state that these measures be displayed in a menu, price list or other printed material which is available to customers on the premises and also that where a customer does not specify the quantity of alcohol to be sold, (e.g. I’ll have a beer please) the customer is made aware that these measures are available (e.g. would you like half or a pint?).
It is anticipated that many premises will already have this information on their menus and price lists or on notices clearly displayed at the bar. Staff training will also be important. Where customers do not specify the measure they require, staff must make a customer aware of the measures that are available.
There is concern that the proposals are not clear on how the new provisions are to be interpreted and enforced and I anticipate that there will be much discussion before October in relation to this.
Should you have any further queries concerning this please do not hesitate to contact our Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing team on 01332 226 148.