WSTA urges trade to be ready for October 1st Mandatory Code changes

 24 August 2010

The WSTA is urging the drinks trade to be ready for new rules requiring all licensed premises to have an age verification policy in place and offer small drink measures to their customers.

The new rules come into force on October 1st as part of the Mandatory Code on alcohol retail, introduced by the previous Government. They require that:

• All licensed premises must have an age verification policy in place that ensures anyone who appears to staff to be under 18 is asked to show photographic ID with their date of birth and a holographic mark on it before they are served alcohol
• All licensed premises must provide and make customers aware of the following measures*:
  • Still wine in a glass: 125 ml
• Gin, rum, vodka and whisky: 25 ml or 35 ml (depending on the measure you normally serve)
• Beer and cider: half a pint

The possibility of scrapping the Mandatory Code is among the options being considered as part of the Coalition Government’s current consultation on licensing. 

However officials have indicated there is more pressure to reconsider the age verification requirement due to the high associated compliance costs, than to revisit the issue of small drink measures.

In the meantime both new rules will come into force on October 1st as originally planned and guidance on these conditions will be issued nearer the time.

WSTA Chief Executive Jeremy Beadles said: “It’s vital businesses are aware of these changes and ready to comply when they come into force.  I’d also urge businesses, which want to see Mandatory Code conditions affecting them overturned, to respond directly to the Government’s licensing consultation with evidence of the cost imposed on their business.”



Notes to editors:

Mandatory Code
The Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) Order 2010 set out the five new conditions that will apply to all licensed premises and those with a club premises certificate.
From 6th April 2010, these conditions:
• Ban irresponsible promotions;
• Ban the dispensing of alcohol directly into the mouth; and
• Ensure that customers have access to free tap water so that they can space out their drinks and not get too intoxicated too quickly.
From 1st October 2010, these conditions will also:
• Require an age verification policy to be in place to prevent underage sales; and
• Ensure that customers have the opportunity to choose small measures of beers, ciders, spirits and wine.

*This does not prevent premises from serving larger sizes, such as 250ml wine, pints or doubles, although all measures offered must comply with relevant Weights and Measures legislation.

Licensing Consultation
Businesses can respond directly to the Home Office consultation on licensing here:

The WSTA is the UK organisation for the wine and spirit industry representing over 310 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wines and spirits.
We campaign to promote the industry’s interests with governments at home and abroad.
We work with our members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.

For more information please contact Gavin Partington:
Tel:  +44 (0) 20 7089 3876
Mob:  +44 (0) 7966 014058
Email: [email protected]

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