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
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 naÔve 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 www.responsibledrinksretailing.co.uk, or contact Jessica Canfor on 01293 867644 or email@example.com
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