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Liquor law proposals impact is debatable

The national liquor policy aims to increase the legal drinking age from 18 to 21.

There are mixed reactions among Toti liquor outlets regarding proposed liquor policy changes.

The national liquor policy aims to:

  • Increase the legal drinking age from 18 to 21;
  • Restrict times for sale of liquor in zoned areas;
  • Restrict and set parameters for advertising and marketing of alcohol;
  • Introduce liability for manufacturers.

Part-owner of Lords and Legends Sports Cafe, Garth Lamprecht believes increasing the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 will not affect their business. “We cater mainly for families, but I can imagine the pub and nightclub owners are going to kick up a fuss as 18 to 21-year-olds are a big portion of their turnover.

Regarding restricting times for the sale of liquor in zoned areas, I think this is a little unfair, especially when off-consumption outlets such as bottle stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets have just had their hours increased.””

He believes restaurants, hotels, nightclubs and pubs form part of the leisure industry and in essence, government will be putting a time limit to its citizens’ leisure time.

“Restricting and setting parameters for advertising and the marketing of alcohol doesn’t really affect us, but it’s a multi-million rand industry which employs thousands of people. I thought government was trying to promote employment?

If liability for manufacturers is introduced, lawyers and insurers will have a good pay day, while the rest of us look from afar in amazement at how rich they are all getting.”

Owner of Memphis Nite Club, Ian MacFarlane said their clientele are mostly over the age of 21. “We have 18-year-olds who come early in the evening, but it shouldn’t impact our business too much. Our average age is from about 28 to 45-years-old,” said Ian, who also believes it will take time to implement the new age policy.

Bottle stores will feel the brunt financially, although how much, owner of One-Up Discount Liquor Store in Doonside, Derek Chard is unsure of.

“It will impact us, because we do get a lot of 18 to 21-years-old buying from us,” he said.

“I think the real impact though will be the policing of the new laws. There is not policing of the current laws, so how will they do it with the proposed new laws?

The police simply don’t have the manpower.”

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