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Retail Drinks introduces voluntary national alcohol restrictions

March 30, 2020
By Alana House

Retail Drinks Australia has announced a voluntary initiative by participating liquor retailers to introduce temporary national alcohol restrictions.

Retail Drinks CEO Julie Ryan said this initiative was developed following concerns being raised by government that customers could change their purchasing behaviours and cause supply interruptions as seen within the grocery market.

“We know that consumers like to feel certainty of supply during times of crisis, and our members want to do their part to encourage people continuing to purchase alcohol responsibly as they normally would,” she said.

“Our suppliers in breweries, wineries, distilleries and the wholesale and distribution of drinks continue to be fully operational and this means there are no issues of supply.

“However, it was clear that uncertainty on the impact of supply following the closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants last week caused some people to purchase differently. “We want to now send a clear message bottle shops remain an essential service and there are no issues of supply.

“These temporary measures will ensure that all consumers can continue to access their favourite drinks when they decide to make a purchase.”

Ryan noted that explanatory signage would be available within stores and could also be found on the participating retailers’ websites.

“From opening of trading today signage will be displayed both in stores and online, which explains the purchasing limits,” she explained.

“These temporary restrictions are intended to operate per transaction, and are clear and easy for both our retail workers, and consumers, to understand.

“Put simply, each category of drinks, whether it be beer, wine, cider, RTDs or spirits, will have a limit for that category. “Consumers can purchase up to the total limit in any two product categories.”

The limits per customer, per transaction, are: beer (two cases), cider (two cases), RTD (two cases), wine (12 bottles), cask wine (two casks, not to exceed 10 litres in total); bottle spirits (two bottles, not to exceed two litres in total).

(Cases refer to a 24 or 30 pack as applicable.)

The initiative does not apply in Western Australia, where there were different regulated limitations on purchasing, that continue to apply.

In WA, the following daily limits apply: three bottles of wine; one carton of beer, cider or premix spirits; one litre of spirits; and one litre of fortified wine. However, customers can purchase across two of those categories under the new rules.

Dan Murphy's panic buying

Last week, BWS and Dan Murphy’s implemented national alcohol restrictions to limit the amount people can buy each day.

Restrictions included a maximum of three casks of wine, beer, cider or premixed drinks, a maximum of six bottles of spirits and 18 bottles of wine. The limits apply per customer, per day. However, it has since moved to implement the Retail Drinks recommendations.

Endeavour explained the restrictions were introduced after “encountering unprecedented and increasing customer demand across our stores and online channels”.

Ryan urged consumers to continue to keep the health and safety of retail workers in mind while the Retail Drinks voluntary national alcohol restrictions are implemented.

“Please remember that our liquor retail staff are working hard to serve you and they deserve to be treated with respect and courtesy while they assist you to understand these changes,” she said.

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