ALDI may have found a way around South Australia’s liquor licencing laws, which will mean it can finally sell alcohol in the state.
Currently, South Australian supermarkets are banned from selling alcohol under ‘packaged liquor’ rules, which prohibit the sale of alcohol in any business “ordinarily known as or advertised as a supermarket, convenience store or delicatessen”.
However, the chain has applied for a ‘producer’s licence’ for six of its stores in the state at Hawthorn, Adelaide Airport, Aldinga, Victor Harbor, Newton and Blackwood.
A producer’s licence allows cellar doors to sell their own stock. ALDI is arguing that it produces its own liquor products, as it partners with local breweries, winemakers and spirit makers to produce ranges.
It allows a licensee to sell wine, beer and spirits if they are produced “by or at the direction of the licensee and is uniquely the licensee’s own product”.
“The public of South Australia have spoken very loudly through social media and in other forums, regarding their strong support for ALDI operating its liquor service in SA,” Viktor Jakupec, Managing Director of South Australia for ALDI Australia said.
“ALDI began to offer liquor in our Victorian stores in 2003, and since this date our offering has become a familiar and convenient part of a standard household shop.
“Liquor is currently available from selected ALDI stores in NSW, ACT, WA and Vic and our goal is to bring this same convenience, efficiency and quality range to shoppers in South Australia.”
AHA objects to application
The Australian Hotels Association has lodged a formal objection to Aldi’s application.
AHA SA general manager Ian Horne told the Adelaide Advertiser it was “a bit like ALDI sticking their middle finger up at SA’s legislative expectations”.
“This is not a slight loophole, it appears to be a deliberate attempt to circumvent the expectations of how alcohol should be sold in South Australia,” he said.
“What ALDI proposes is to circumvent this restriction (imposed in the packaged liquor licence rules) by seeking to be recognised as a producer despite not owning or operating any vineyards, breweries or distillers.
“ALDI’s liquor offer is exclusively “own brand”, i.e. someone else’s product rebadged to reflect the ALDI brand.”
Could it open the door for Kaufland?
Queensland and South Australia are currently the only states in which ALDI supermarkets are unable to sell alcohol.
This is expected to be a stumbling block for the new German supermarket chain on the block, Kaufland.
In August, Kaufland submitted an application to Toowoomba Regional Council to build the first Kaufland hotel and hypermarket in Queensland.
The pub will be situated on the hypermarket site in a stand-alone location with provision for 80 car spaces.
The application noted it would also have a limited range of associated speciality retail tenancies, a food and drink outlet and “a hotel use associated with an integrated grocery, food, hospitality and liquor offering”.
The inclusion of a pub is a result of Queensland liquor laws stipulating that to obtain a liquor licence for a bottle shop, the owner must already hold a commercial hotel licence for a pub within 10km.
According to a report prepared by Anthony Dimasi, Managing Director, Dimasi & Co, for Kaufland Australia, Kaufland expects to gain an estimated market share in the areas around its Victorian stores for liquor within the range of 5.7% – 6.3%.