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Spirit Drinkers Left Out and Supermarkets Missing

From today (1 December), shoppers looking to place a bottle of their favourite spirit into their trolley will not be able to enjoy the same supermarket convenience and competitiveness as they do with beer and wine. Supermarkets are excluded from a share of the $750 million a year spirits market.

The Distilled Spirits Association which represents New Zealand’s leading producers and marketers of spirits and liqueurs believes this aspect of the new law is an ass.

Association Chief Executive Thomas Chin said disallowing spirits is unfair and an inconvenience to those who enjoy spirits. “Illogical restrictions on consumers’ freedom of choice and the protecting of vested interests is not good law”.

“How is it that customers can buy the full range of drinks from bottle-stores, restaurants, bars, pubs, taverns, clubs, canteens and even Parliament’s own Bellamys, but not at supermarkets?

“To say to supermarket shoppers that they cannot buy their spirits from the same place where they buy their beer, table wine, mead, perry, and cider supplies, is totally illogical – after-all, a G and T contains the same alcohol as a glass of lager or a glass of Chardonnay” he said.

Inexplicably, the current law also excludes liqueurs, port and sherries, vermouth, dessert wine, other malt-based drinks, general alcohol beverages and wine coolers.

And in international experience, legislators in the UK, Ireland, USA, France, Germany, Japan and Australia, to name a few, have not found any special problems stemming from the sale of the full range of alcohol in their local supermarkets.

Mr Chin said the challenge for the new Parliament is to give spirit drinkers a fair go by delivering a level retail playing field with amendments to the liquor laws in the New Year.


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