It is an offence for anyone to do anything that encourages, or is likely to encourage, people to consume alcohol excessively. This includes licensees, duty managers and other staff.

You may not promote alcohol at a price that implies that it is 25% or more below the normal price. So, if you are advertising a Happy Hour or similar promotion the advertised reduced price can be up to 24.99% cheaper than the usual price. The only exception is where you are only advertising the promotion inside the premises, so that it cannot be seen or heard from outside of the premises. This includes promoting discounts on social media (e.g. facebook), other websites (e.g. grabone), inside other premises (e.g. another bar or a backpackers), on the radio, and so on.

Promotions that include free alcohol are also not to be advertised anywhere so that they can be seen or heard outside the premises. So you can no longer advertise such things as “free drink on arrival” or “free bottle of wine with four people dining”. However, premises holding an off licence can advertise free samples for consumption on the premises.

Under the new Act promotions that advertise a prize, or any reward in form or goods and services, that require the purchase of alcohol, are also prohibited. So you cannot run promotions that require patrons to purchase a drink to go into the draw to win a prize. The only exemption to this is where the promotion can only be seen inside the premises and is limited to alcohol bought in those premises.

Note: Under the Gambling Act it is illegal to offer alcohol as a prize in a raffle or similar competition.

Remember that any promotion, whether advertised inside or outside of your premises, that can be seen to be likely to encourage people to consume alcohol excessively is contrary to the Act.

Please click here for National Guidance on Alcohol Promotions - On-licensed premises