Alcohol advertising and promotions

As a licensee or permit-holder, you have an obligation to ensure alcohol is supplied and promoted in ways that minimise harm and preserve peace and good order around your premises. You must maintain a safe environment for patrons and staff of your venue and promote the responsible use of alcohol in your premises.

As a licensee or permit-holder, you are not legally permitted to:

  • engage in practices that may encourage the rapid or excessive intake of alcohol
  • advertise any promotion that is likely to indicate that liquor costs less than is usually charged
  • advertise outside of your premises the
    • sale price of liquor for consumption on your premises
    • availability of free liquor or multiple quantities of liquor on your premises.

If you fail to comply with the responsible promotion of alcohol, you can be subject to monetary and trading penalties under the Liquor Act 1992.

Unacceptable practices and promotions

Under section 142ZZ of the Liquor Act 1992, a licensee or permit holder must not engage in, or allow another person to engage in, an unacceptable practice or promotion in the conduct of business on the licensed premises. The Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming issued Guideline 60: Unacceptable liquor practices and promotions in licensed venues, which provides examples of unacceptable practices and promotions to help licensees and permit holders comply with these requirements.

Under section 142ZZA of the Liquor Act 1992, licensees and permit holders must engage in practices or promotions that encourage the responsible consumption of liquor. For example, this may include:

  • having non-alcohol and low-alcohol beverages available
  • supplying alcohol in standard quantities recognised by patrons.

Liquor advertising

Under section 142ZZC of the Liquor Act 1992, a licensee or permit holder is prohibited from advertising, or allowing anyone to advertise, a range of matters, including free liquor, discounted liquor or the sale price of liquor for consumption on premises (restaurants and cafés excepted).

The previous provision meant that licensees or permit holders could not cause the prohibited advertising to occur; however, the new provisions extend to prevent a licensee or permit holder from allowing anyone else to engage in prohibited advertising for the licensee's premises.

Compliance notices

Under section 142ZZD of the Liquor Act 1992, the Commissioner may issue a compliance notice stating that the licensee or permit holder must not engage, or continue to engage, in an unacceptable practice or promotion in contravention of this section or that is contrary to the public interest. The Commissioner may issue a compliance notice about any advertising that contravenes the new section or is contrary to the public interest.

Note: The Commissioner will issue a guideline about practices, promotions or advertisements that may be considered contrary to the public interest. The licensee or permit holder must comply with the compliance notice, otherwise they commit an offence. The maximum penalty is 100 penalty units (monetary value of $13,055).

Responsible alcohol marketing code

The ABAC responsible alcohol marketing code exists to ensure that alcohol advertising does not conflict with, or detract from, responsible and moderated merchandising and use of alcohol. It also works to discourage underage drinking.

Under the code, advertisements for alcohol beverages must:

  • present a mature, balanced and responsible approach to the consumption of alcohol beverages
  • not have a strong or evident appeal to children or adolescents
  • not suggest that the consumption or presence of alcohol beverages may create or contribute to a significant change in mood or environment
  • not depict any direct association between the consumption of alcoholic beverages, other than low-alcohol beverages, and the operation of a motor vehicle, boat or aircraft or the engagement in any sport (including swimming and water sports) or potentially hazardous activity
  • not challenge or dare people to drink or sample a particular alcoholic beverage, other than low-alcohol beverages, and must not contain any inducement to prefer an alcoholic beverage because of its higher alcohol content
  • comply with the Advertiser code of ethics (PDF, 82KB) adopted by the Australian Association of National Advertisers
  • not encourage consumption that is in excess of, or inconsistent with, the Australian alcohol guidelines issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Happy hours and drink promotions

Drink promotions and happy hours may contribute to excessive and rapid consumption of alcohol if not adequately controlled. Requirements for conducting drink promotions were introduced in 2006 to ensure these activities are conducted responsibly. You cannot advertise happy hours outside your premises.

Happy hours

A 'happy hour' is any activity traditionally known as a happy hour, whether or not the activity is actually advertised as or called this. For example, a 'publican's shout' or 'afternoon special' is regarded as a happy hour.

It includes any temporary, time-limited discount on a trading day for the relevant part of the premises (e.g. public bar, nightclub).

If you are a licensee within the Brisbane City Council area, you must comply with additional restrictions on happy hours.

The Liquor Act 1992 allows happy hours in licensed venues outside of the Brisbane City Council area, but only if:

  • advertising happens only within the advertised premises
  • the advertisement is not visible or audible to a person who is outside the advertised premises.

Promotions with prizes of alcohol

You may host reward promotions that do not encourage excessive consumption of alcohol, or promote intoxication. These include:

  • raffles where the prize is free liquor
  • 'buy one get one free' promotions.

Low-risk promotions are also allowed, such as:

  • 'beer of the month' brand switching to encourage trialling a new product
  • loyalty reward programs conducted over more than 1 trading day.

Theme nights

You are permitted to hold themed events, such as 'student nights', provided that the conduct of the event or occasion does not:

  • encourage rapid or excessive intake of alcohol
  • otherwise promote intoxication.

Free sampling

You are permitted to provide free sampling within your licensed premises.

Reporting irresponsible drinking promotions

If you know of a licensed venue promoting rapid or excessive consumption of liquor, please report it to the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation on 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

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