THE head of a panel set up last year to promote responsible booze sales has censured the owner of a Londonderry nightclub after it was found to be offering ‘all-you-can-drink’ for a tenner.
Three years ago the Sentinel reported how Pepe’s, which was located at the exact same location as the nightclub in question - Envy, on the Strand Road - was running similar such promotions. In 2011 Pepe’s - opposite the Strand police station - was offering a “free bar” on Tuesdays which allowed revellers to pay £15 at the door and get their drink free all night.
Now Envy Bar and Nightclub has been reprimanded for a toned down version, this time, charging £10 for “all-you-can-drink” in two hours.
The Independent Complaints Panel that oversees the Joint Industry Code for the Responsible Promotion and Retail of Alcohol in Northern Ireland has upheld a complaint against Envy Bar. The ‘free bar’ promotion encouraged customers to consume alcohol to the value of £10 within a fixed period of two hours.
Duncan McCausland, Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel overseeing the code, said today: “After investigating the complaint, the panel took the decision that the promotion in question clearly breached the Responsible Retailing Code NI.
“The panel was unanimous in their view that this offer encouraged customers to engage in excessive and irresponsible drinking in a defined period of time.
“We have now met with the owner of the venue who cooperated fully with this process and acted as soon as the compliance issue was brought into question. We welcome the fact that they have amended the promotion to comply with the code guidance and advice.
“Irresponsible drink promotions have a negative impact and that is why the Independent Complaints Panel moved swiftly once this complaint was drawn to our attention.
“The Code is there to ensure a good basic standard for those involved in the alcohol industry to adhere to. Responsible retailing, a positive attitude toward the consumption of alcohol and a strong enforceable code makes and creates a safe environment for people to enjoy themselves”.
Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Pubs of Ulster, said: “Irresponsible drinks promotions and practices have no place in our industry and as the representative body of the trade, we are committed to ensuring that our members comply with all aspects of the Code.
“The pub industry has made much progress in becoming more responsible and accountable for their events, promotions and marketing output.
“We want to ensure that we continue to maintain our quality product and that people can have a good time. We are encouraged that bad practice is being flagged and that the Independent Complaints Panel is acting effectively.
“We hope this decision serves as a reminder to all licensees that the Code and its panel have a zero-tolerance approach to irresponsible practices.”