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Running Responsible Pub Drinks Promotions

One of your main responsibilities as a licensee is to sell alcohol in accordance with best practice and legislation. At the heart of this is the recognition that well managed promotions are a perfectly proper way of developing your business.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) have laid down some key standards that allow for the running of responsible promotions. At the same time the standards identify promotions that should be avoided as they carry with them a high risk they will lead to alcohol misuse and anti-social behaviour.

Irresponsible promotions will damage your reputation and your business. Irresponsible promotions drive down quality and standards and have no place in a well managed pub. Irresponsible promotions can also expose you to action by the police and licensing authorities through the disturbance and nuisance they can cause.

“In simple terms, an irresponsible promotion is one that encourages or incites individuals to drink to excess, behave in an anti-social manner, or fuels drunkeness.”

There are many reasons to want to run a drinks promotion:

  • To boost trade during quiet periods (e.g. early evening or the dreaded Tuesday!)
  • To introduce a new brand or increase awareness of a product
  • To provide new customers with an incentive to use your pub and not your competitors
  • To provide a special offer to customers for a limited period
  • To reward continuing customer loyalty

Promotions can give your pub a competitive edge, but if badly managed they can also be seen to encourage customers to drink too much and cause public order problems.

Encouraging the misuse of alcohol is socially irresponsible but these notes on the effective and responsible management of point of sale promotions in your premises will help you avoid that.

How can I ensure I am running a responsible promotion? I can’t cover them all however what you need is a clear method of judging whether any proposed promotion meets expected standards.

The key point to remember is:

“No promotion should encourage alcohol misuse or anti-social behaviour.”

You as the Licensee, your bar staff and anyone else in charge of planning and implementing promotions should ensure that all promotions adhere strictly to the following core standards:

  • Don’t encourage excessive drinking or drunkenness
  • Don’t encourage anti-social behaviour
  • Don’t offend common standards of taste and decency

All promotions should also comply with:

The British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing:

The Portman Group Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks can be found by clicking here.

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