It's time to take responsibility

15 June, 2007

OLN's Responsible Drinks Retailing Awards are set to take place on Nov 22 - are you up

to the challenge


With supermarkets vying to challenge

older-looking people trying to buy drinks and the government threatening to extend its anti-alcohol campaigning into the homes of middle-aged, middle-class people , responsible drinks retailing couldn't be more important.

This week we have seen 10 Tesco Express stores in Doncaster trial a policy to challenge anyone who looks under

30 for ID, putting it five years ahead of Asda, which is trying out a Challenge

25 scheme.

Avoiding selling alcohol to children and encouraging sensible drinking is a massive issue for OLN's readers - and not just because increasingly frequent and tough sting operations and tighter laws demand it. How to deal with adults who pass drinks to children is also a hot topic - even if it is parents who are passing alcohol to their own children.

Earlier this year, readers wrote in discussing what they should do if they suspected their customers of drinking too much. Alcoholism is a hazard of the drinks trade, and it would be nave to suggest that alcoholics will not be attracted to their local off-licence. So far the government hasn't found a way to blame retailers for selling to people who, however respectable they may look, are drinking to excess - but we are starting to see signs that it would like to.

Super-strength lagers and ciders

have also come under fire, with local authorities in some parts of the country banning retailers from selling them as part of their licensing conditions, and a growing number of retailers are calling for 44cl cans in a bid to stop selling single serves that contain more alcohol than the government recommends should be drunk in a day.

Suppliers are also getting involved in responsible drinking. Big names such as Diageo and Carling have produced TV ads and posters advising their customers to drink in moderation, many are printing alcohol units on their labels and Pernod Ricard has taken the lead in warning pregnant women that they should not be drinking alcohol.

So there is no better time to make sure that you are not just being responsible, but being seen to be responsible. OLN's Responsible Drinks Retailing Awards

are a great way to show off just how

much you are doing to avoid selling to children, uphold the law and help out your community.

Responsible Drinks Retailing Awards 2007

Stores can enter the awards in the independent or chain categories, and the winners will be unveiled at a prestigious industry awards lunch

at the Landmark Hotel, London,

on Nov 22.

Judges will be looking for the most holistic approach to responsible drinks retailing, and want to see evidence of head office activity,

local initiatives and endorsements from police and local authorities.

To enter, simply visit, or contact Jessica Canfor on 01293 867644 or

This year's judges

Vicki Nobles, corporate relations director, Diageo Great Britain

Stephen Hogg, policy advisor,

Wine & Spirit Trade Association

Robert Humphreys, chairman, PASS and honorary secretary, All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group

Charlotte Meller, team leader, LACORS

Mark Du Val, director, LACORS

Bruce Ray, director of external affairs, Bacardi Brown-Forman

Stephen Baker, deputy chairman, National Pubwatch

Graham Holter, group editor,

Off Licence News

Andrew Pring, editor, Morning Advertiser

Lorraine Hendle, publishing director, The Grocer

Melanie Taylor, corporate communications manager, BII

How last year's winners impressed the judges

Sainsbury's at Bell's (winner): Runs its own test purchasing scheme and praises staff when they get it right; trains staff in assertiveness as well as the law; works with the local community to battle under-age sales and antisocial behaviour.

Wine Cellar (highly commended): Ongoing staff education, including promoting Challenge 21 on every payslip; has switched suppliers to stop selling super-strength lager in 50cl cans.

Tate Spar, Aberystwyth (highly commended independent): Diligently fills in refusals book; clear and concise training programme.

Asda: Has slashed test purchase failures, drums home Challenge 21 message and has banned under-18s from checkouts.

Bargain Booze: Offers 200 reward for information leading to the conviction of adults buying alcohol for children; has published "credit card" mini-document detailing Challenge 21 policy.

Thresher: Refreshed training package in partnership with the Confederation of Professional Licensees.

Waitrose: Reluctant to price promote; has reviewed its own-label range to put alcohol units on the

back label.

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