The Hospitality Messenger

The Liquor Commission recently affirmed a decision of the Director of Liquor Licensing and refused to grant a small bar licence in West Perth for premises known as Pony Express O.

Pony Express O already operates as an unlicensed café at 21 Mayfair Street, West Perth.  A number of people objected to the grant of the licence including a neighbouring hair salon and residents from a nearby apartment complex.

One of the main issues addressed by the Liquor Commission was the fact that the venue did not have access to its own toilet facilities on the licensed premises.  The toilets used by customers of the café were also shared with the patrons attending the hair salon.   In this respect, the Liquor Commission stated as follows:

In the Commission’s view, it is important that the licensee of a small bar, which is a sub-category of a hotel licence, be responsible and accountable under the Act for the conduct of the business and the provision of essential services associated with the business, such as adequate and suitable toilets.

The proposed toilets are not under the direct control of the applicant.  The proposed toilets are also immediately adjacent to a common facilities area which is used for a range of purposes associated with the “back of house” operations of both the applicant’s business and the adjoining hairdressing business.

Generally speaking, the licensing authority will only consider permitting shared toilet facilities for restaurant, club, occasional and some special facility licences, although restrictions do apply.  A copy of the Liquor Commission decision can be found here.

Free potable water is a must have, but what else?

The Liquor Control Act requires licensees to provide free potable water at their venues and many licences are subject to conditions requiring low and mid-strength liquor items to be made available.  However, there has been some recent media attention about what other non-alcoholic options might, or even should, be available for patrons. .

Some patrons have reported that there is a stigma attached to not ordering an alcoholic beverage.  Some patrons have publicly criticised there being very limited options to choose from.

These patrons have reported that greater choice and diversity of non-alcoholic alternatives would make their time at the venue considerably more enjoyable and encourage them to visit licensed premises more often. 

So, while you certainly don’t want to be the “pub with no beer” perhaps some thought needs to be given to providing a range of non-alcoholic drinks at your venue, to cater for all patrons. 

Relevantly also, the modern licensing regime generally favours licensees that cater well for responsible drinking behavior.

New policy – FIFA World Cup 2018

The licensing authority has published its updated policy in respect of extended trading hours for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018.

If a licensee intends to continue trading outside of the hours permitted on its particular licence or existing extended trading permit (ETP) for the purposes of allowing patrons to watch a game, it must apply to the licensing authority for either a variation to its existing ETP or a one-off ETP.  Several factors to be addressed include identifying strategies to properly manage liquor consumption and minimise any potential noise and disturbance.

All applications in respect of the World Cup 2018 can be expected to be referred to the Police and relevant local government authority for comment.  In addition, licensed premises located in residential areas will be required to notify residents within 200m of the proposed ETP.

Click here to view the policy on the Department’s website.

Gage Roads has bought Matso’s

Gage Roads Brewing Company has announced that it will be purchasing Matso’s Broome Brewing for just over $16 million.

Although Matso’s has been outsourcing its production to Gage Roads since 2007, Gage Roads will now formally own the brand.  As part of the deal, Gage Roads will also have the option to purchase Matso’s brewery in Broome from the Peirson-Jones family.

Crowdfunding with a liquor licence

West Winds Gin is seeking to raise $3.5 million to fund its planned expansion. The capital will be raised through equity crowdfunding – an exercise that allows members of the public over the age of 18 to invest in businesses not listed on the ASX.

This West Winds Gin offer marks one of the first equity crowdfunds in Australia. every day investors can potentially get a stake in the popular Western Australian distillery from as little as $500, via the online platform Equitise and effectively become shareholders in the company.

This equity crowdfunding exercise triggers a reminder to licensees of the licensing authority’s requirements in respect of changes to a licensee structure, including the appointment of new shareholders.

In the case of body corporates, if a licensee is a private entity it must apply to the licensing authority for approval in respect of any new director or shareholder. In the case of a licensee that is a listed public company, only new directors are required to be approved.

Licensees are also reminded that approval must be sought and obtained from the licensing authority prior to any new appointment. Unauthorised changes to the licensee structure could potentially attract a fine of up to $10,000.

Horsing around

A woman in Queensland was arrested for allegedly riding her horse through a drive-through bottle shop while being four times over the legal limit!

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.