Guideline 12: Advertising packages including a meal or accommodation and alcoholic beverages

While there is a general prohibition on the external promotion of the price of liquor for on-premises consumption, it is acknowledged that the advertisement of 'drink and meal' packages have become an accepted practice for many licensees. In order to assist licensees and to limit potential abuse of these types of promotions this document is designed to provide guidance on the limits of such promotions.

This guideline, however, does not authorise a licensee to breach any provision of the Liquor Act 1992.

Liquor Act 1992 - Section 142ZZC

This section controls certain advertising by licensees or permittees.

Section 142ZZC (1)(a) to (c) prohibit a licensee or permittee from advertising, or allowing anyone to advertise:

(a) the availability of the following for consumption on the licensee's licensed premises or the premises to which the permittee's permit relates (each the advertised premises)

  • free liquor
  • multiple quantities of liquor; for example - 2 drinks for the price of 1.

(b) the sale price of liquor for consumption on the advertised premises; or

(c) a promotion that is likely to indicate to an ordinary person the availability of liquor, for consumption on the advertised premises, at a price less than that normally charged for the liquor. Examples of promotions for (c) include:

  • 'happy hours'
  • 'all you can drink'
  • 'toss the boss'.

In accordance with s142ZZC(2), a person does not contravene s142ZZC(1) if:

(a) the advertising happens only within the advertised premises; and

(b) the advertisement is not visible or audible to a person who is outside the advertised premises.

What is acceptable?

It is considered acceptable to advertise the price and availability of a package consisting of:

(a) a meal and 1 alcoholic beverage, provided the beverage equates to no more than 1.5 standard drinks and the meal is of sufficient substance to ordinarily be accepted as a meal; or

(b) a package consisting of a meal for 2 and a bottle of wine, sparkling wine or champagne up to 750mL, and the meals are

(I) of sufficient substance to ordinarily be accepted as a meal; and

(II) eaten in an area of the premises ordinarily set aside for dining.

(c) a package consisting of accommodation and a bottle of wine, sparkling wine or champagne up to 750mL.

In these circumstances it is considered the alcoholic beverage is ancillary to the meal/s or accommodation and in normal circumstances would not be captured by the provisions of section 142ZZC of the Liquor Act.

By way of example, in normal circumstances, advertising the price of a package comprising a steak and stubby of beer or glass of wine would be considered acceptable. Similarly a package consisting of 2 meals and a 750mL bottle of champagne would also be acceptable.

What is a meal?

A meal needs to be prepared and should form part of a menu and be eaten by a person sitting at a table, or fixed structure used as a table, with cutlery provided for the purposes of eating the food. The service of food should be of sufficient substance that it would ordinarily be accepted as a meal.

What is a standard drink?

Please refer to the standard drinks page, which outlines the ratio of a standard drink of an adult alcoholic beverage.

What is unacceptable?

It is considered unacceptable to advertise the price or availability of a package consisting of more than 1 beverage or a beverage equating to more than 1.5 standard drinks with a single meal as part of the package.

Example

Advertising the price of a steak and 2 schooners of beer is not considered acceptable.

It is also unacceptable if a promotion is likely to indicate to an ordinary person the availability of liquor at a price less than that normally charged.

Example

4 tacos and 4 bottles of Corona for $14.

Exclusions

This guideline does not generally limit promotions associated with:

  • (a) bona fide 'functions' as defined in the Liquor Act; or
  • (b) promotions relating to Melbourne Cup day.

Issued 3 April 2012