Click on questions below to show answers.
”Q: I am an assistant manager of a hotel with a large restaurant and bar. We are owned by a large chain and keep getting told to try and cut wages. Although food and drink sales are in growth the hotel is not. Recently I have been manager, waiter and chef on the same shift because we are run so tight. I was wondering about the legal implications. How many employees should be in the building at one time during trading hours?”
”Q: I work at a venue without a premises licence. However, we regularly hold drinks receptions and dinners at which alcohol and soft drinks are served. No money changes hands, but clients are invoiced for the alcohol on a consumption basis. Are we in breach of the regulations because we need a licence for this? My boss says that we don’t need a licence because there’s no cash bar.”
”Q: The boss in my pub is planning the promotion of a particular brand of beer. He reckons that he can get round the ban on ‘buy one, get one free’ offers by giving a scratch card to customers buying this product with a free bottle as the prize. I’m pretty sure this is illegal. Am I correct? What are the possible consequences if he goes ahead?”
”Q: I’m a promoter for a nightclub. A rival has launched a promotion offering a free drink upon entry before a cut-off time. Looking at the banned “irresponsible promotions” in the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, it seems alcohol can’t be given away for free when there’s a condition that a drink is purchased. So, it’s legal to provide alcohol if there is no initial requirement to purchase a drink, just merely attend the venue before a certain time?“
”Q: I am a member of a sports/social club. Like most private members’ clubs we really need new members in order to survive and the doors will close permanently within six months if we do not act now. In the past we have advertised functions locally with posters advertising tribute nights and so on. That got us a ‘rap on the knuckles’ from the licensing board as we were advertising functions to the general public instead of just to our own members. We have learned from this error. However, our options for bringing in new members through other avenues are now exhausted. I firmly believe that we need to advertise going forward. As a private members’ club can we advertise for new members and promote the facilities we offer? Can you help clarify what content we can advertise?“
”Q:Recently clubs in the city where I work have developed new fad drinks. For example, one is built from shots of spirits, fruit juice and an RTD and supplied in a pint glass. They seem to be a quick way of getting drunk. How does the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and subsequent legislation consider the legality of these drinks? Are they considered cocktails? What combinations will a customer request next and where does the line of responsible service end? I’ve been highly suspicious of the drinks for a while now, as the cynical side of me thinks they are an easy way to get round the singles and doubles restrictions of the Weights And Measures Act. Are licensing standards officers comfortable with these drinks being served?”
”Q: I’ve just started up a new coffee shop with an alcohol licence and I’m trying to get established. One of the things a marketer has suggested is that we contact all the local businesses and offer them a complimentary glass of wine or beer as an enticement to come in to see us. I know there are some issues in Scotland with giving alcohol away as it’s not promoting responsible drinking. Any pointers you have would be appreciated.”
Q: My students’ union operates both a members’ club and a pub. Staff refuse to accept a North American driver’s licence as proof-of-age and instead insist on a passport. They don’t require this during the tourist season. Are they taking the right approach? Are photocopy passports acceptable? It seems a bit risky to go out carrying a passport.”
”Q: I am in the process of starting up a business selling jams infused with alcohol and I’m not completely sure on where I stand in terms of needing a licence or who I am able to sell my jam to. The jam will be around 3 to 4 per cent ABV and will contain various spirits like whisky and brandy. I have asked my local licensing standards officer who advised me that his interpretation of the law was that only alcohol sold in a liquid form required a licence and therefore I could sell my jam without one. He did however state that I should seek legal advice. So my questions are: do I need a licence to sell my jam product and am I able to sell it to those under the age of 18?”
*Jack Cummins is unable to enter into personal correspondence on readers’ questions. The advice offered in SLTN is published for information only. No responsibility for loss occasioned by persons acting or refraining from action as a result of material contained on this page or elsewhere in SLTN can be accepted by the author or publisher.