Industry codes on sale and display of alcohol proposed to be put into law?

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Cheap beer in supermarket

The Minister for Justice has announced that he intends on introducing new provisions in licensing laws on the sale and display of alcohol – however, a breach of these provisions will not constitute an offense.

Instead the Minister has said that a breach could be considered grounds to objecting to the renewal of a license.

There are a number of self-regulatory industry codes operating around the sale and display of alcohol – retailers set up the “Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland” code as an alternative to Section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008. The then Government decided to hold off on implementing Section 9 which would have made the structural separation of alcohol from groceries mandatory on mixed trade premises.

Alcohol Action Ireland, at the time, however, stated that the voluntary code was a way of retailers avoiding stricter controls over how alcohol could be displayed and sold. The RRAI’s compliance reports state that there is widespread compliance among retailers to the code.

Again, Alcohol Action Ireland pointed out that the code still allows for alcohol to be displayed in key aisle-end positions, point of sale advertising display of alcohol is on-going – even when the equivalent for tobacco has been banned – and alcohol is almost impossible to avoid in many smaller mixed trade premises.

The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 was published by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter on June 24th. The Minister has stated that he will be seeking the views of interested parties/bodies and the public on the effectiveness of the code. Check out or for more information.

Next time you’re in your local shop or supermarket, take a look at how alcohol is marketed alongside food as just another item in the shopping basket.

  • Is it displayed separately?
  • Is it possible to avoid the part of the shop in which alcohol is displayed?
  • Is it displayed alongside food? Or opposite the checkout?
  • Are spirits behind a till point?

The following is an extract from the RRAI Code of Practice relating to the display of alcohol:

  • Alcohol products will, as far as possible, be displayed only in a part of the premises through which customers do not have to pass in order to obtain access to other beverages and food products (except where, for security reasons, such products are displayed behind the counter but not in a window)
  • Alcohol products will be confined to that one part of the premises and will, as far as possible, be separated from other beverages and food products.