Low Alcohol Displays

New rules about selling low strength alcohol

If you run a supermarket or grocery store that sells beer, wine or mead that is below the threshold to be considered alcohol, a recent law change has improved the rules about where you can display them.

This will make it easier for shoppers to find alternatives to full-strength alcohol and provides clarity for retailers.

What were the old rules and what was the problem with them?

From 2013, the law has been that all alcohol displays and promotions in supermarkets and grocery stores could only be in a single area of the store. 

The problem was that retailers couldn’t legally place low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages specifically targeted at an adult audience in the same area as regular-strength alcohol. This was confusing for retailers and shoppers.

It was also a lost opportunity to promote responsible drinking by displaying low-strength alternatives alongside regular strength options.

What’s the new law?

Now, you can choose whether to place, promote and advertise low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beer, wine and mead inside or outside the single alcohol area in your store.

You’re free to decide where to place them, but we suggest you place such beverages and related in-store marketing in the single alcohol area, because they’re promoted — and recognised by shoppers — as low-strength options.

What’s the definition of ‘low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beer wine and mead’?

Beer, wine and mead with an alcohol content less than 1.15% ethanol by volume.

What’s the ‘single area’ for alcohol?

The single alcohol area is the only area in your store where you’re allowed to display and promote alcohol.  It will be marked on a plan approved by your local district licensing committee.  If you’re unsure where it is, check with your local alcohol licensing inspector.

What about beer and wine that’s stronger than 1.15%?

These products must be displayed in the single alcohol area.

Can I display soft drinks in the single alcohol area?

No, drinks such as lemonade and cola must be displayed outside of the single alcohol area.

Also, other products that contain alcohol but which aren’t subject to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, can’t be displayed in the single alcohol area. Examples include rice wine for cooking, flavour essences, perfumes or pharmacy products.

Where can I get more information?

You can check section 6 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Display of Low-alcohol Beverages and Other Remedial Matters) Amendment Act 2016.

For more information about the single alcohol area, see sections 112-115 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

You may also want to get legal advice to ensure you comply with the law.

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