‘Drink Pub Dry’ Challenge Illegal
18 NOVEMBER 2005
Pubs seeking to attract patrons with offers of cheap booze over a short time period have been sent a stern warning that
such practices will not be tolerated, says the Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC).
In two just released decisions, the Liquor Licensing Authority has found two Dunedin pubs breached the national
guidelines on alcohol promotions that list acceptable and unacceptable practices. As well as cheap booze offers, the
breaches included a challenge from one pub to Lions rugby supporters to try to drink the pub dry.
“These decisions effectively add teeth to the guidelines developed by ALAC in consultation with a number of
organisations including the Police, Local Government New Zealand and the hospitality industry.
“Although the guidelines had enormous support, ultimately the final determination of what is acceptable or otherwise
needed to be tested by the law. This ruling gives that certainty.”
Dr MacAvoy says ALAC hopes the rulings will get rid of promotions involving low priced drinks offered over a short
period of time and other such promotions, which encourage excessive consumption.
“These type of promotions encourage people to down their drinks in the shortest possible time. They are irresponsible
and although the decisions are related to Dunedin pubs, they have implications for the whole country.”
The promotions ruled illegal included the Captain Cook Tavern’s challenge to the Lions rugby supporters’ Barmy Army to
drink the pub dry and a promotion called the Counter Punch in which handles and double spirits were sold for one dollar
for one hour and then two dollars for another two hours.
The second promotion involved Dunedin’s Bowling Green hotel and a promotion called ‘Wet Wednesday’ allowing patrons to
purchase six double spirits for $10 if purchased between 8pm and 10.00pm.
While both the Captain Cook and Bowling Green Taverns were found to have been in breach of the law no sanctions were
“Basically what the authority has said is that these sort of promotions are seen to be endemic in the Dunedin and they
are not at this stage going to make a scapegoat of either pub.
“However, the authority has sent out a clear message to all involved that they have six months to clean up their act. If
they don’t, we would expect the authority to come down hard.”
Dr MacAvoy added one aggravating feature of the Captain Cook promotion was the placement outside the pub of a Tui
billboard, which seemed to perpetuate the challenge. The billboard read ‘The poms are going to drink the Captain Cook
dry. Yeah right.’