SA Government moves to close retail liquor licence loophole

18 May, 2020 by Brydie Allen

The South Australian Government has announced it will move to close a liquor licensing loophole that had the potential to allow alcohol to be stocked in supermarkets. 

The announcement is in relation to new liquor licensing categories that came into effect in November last year. SA Attorney-General and Deputy Premier, Vickie Chapman, said the government has since identified several issues within the changes that they needed to fix.

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“One issue that has come to the fore is the potential for liquor to be sold in supermarkets through a loophole that allows them to apply for a Liquor Production and Sales licence – provided they are selling wine that they have produced. This goes against the Government’s clear position that alcohol should not be sold in supermarkets,” Chapman said.

“Given the current economic outlook, it’s important that our hospitality sector, which is currently and will be impacted quite substantially by COVID-19, doesn’t have another hurdle to jump over in competing with supermarkets.”

In December last year, Aldi used the production category, rather than the packaged liquor category, for liquor licence applications for six stores, in a renewed push to stock alcohol in their SA stores.

As reported at the time, a producers licence is “for businesses that produce their own liquor or sell wholesale liquor,” according to the SA government website, usually granted for producers to sell from their cellar doors or websites. It was believed that Aldi applied for the licence as it teams up with local breweries, wineries and distilleries to produce its range, something that has already proved successful in other states.

After the government announcement, it’s unlikely that Aldi will be successful in ranging alcohol in their SA stores for the time being.

A spokesperson for Aldi Australia told The Shout: “The public of South Australia have spoken very loudly through social media and in other forums, regarding their strong support for ALDI operating its liquor service in SA.”

“Liquor is currently available from selected ALDI stores in NSW, ACT, WA and VIC. It is our hope to bring this same quality range to shoppers in South Australia when the time is right.”

The SA Government’s announcement also shows concern for another loophole of the same licence category – that could allow businesses to sell liquor they have not produced through online sales or mail order.

Chapman said: “Under these changes, the sale of liquor will be limited to the licensee’s product only, unless it’s a sale by wholesale or the liquor is sold in quantities of 4.5 litres or more.”

“The changes also seek to clarify that the licence category itself is meant for genuine producers and wholesalers, not those attempting to sell products they have not produced themselves.”