CHANGES could be made to the range of legal quantities by which alcohol is sold.
The Office of Fair Trading has launched a consultation on possible changes following requests by different sectors of the trade.
An OFT spokesman said the requests were driven in part by concerns about the continued availability of one fifth gill measuring equipment for sales of some spirits as well as the need to promote sensible drinking and facilitate events such as wine tastings and beer festivals.
He said: ‘Whether or not any such changes would be supported by consumers is open to debate and so the OFT is undertaking a public consultation on a number of proposals it has put forward.’
The OFT has proposed introducing two new legal quantities for draught beer to be sold by retail for consumption on the premises at which it is sold, for example, at a pub or restaurant.
One quarter pints and two-thirds pints could be sold alongside one third pints, half pints, and multiples of half pints. The OFT believes these changes would promote ‘sensible drinking’ and ‘facilitate beer festivals’.
The consultation document states: ‘There may be a problem with the introduction of the one quarter pint as this is not a prescribed legal quantity in the UK and, as a consequence, one quarter pint capacity measures may not be easy to source.
On this basis, there is perhaps a case for deregulating sales of beer in quantities of less than say one third pint. This would facilitate beer festivals as draught beer could legally be sold in any quantity of less than one third pint.’
It is proposed that gin, rum, vodka, whisky and brandy sold at pubs etc should only be sold in quantities of 25ml or 35 ml or multiples of either of those quantities.
The consultation asks whether one fifth gill measuring instruments – 28.4ml – should be retained, and if not, whether the island should just adopt the 25ml measure.
Respondents are asked whether there is a case for deregulating sales of wines (other than fortified wines) in the glass in quantities of less than 75 ml. The OFT believes this would ‘facilitate wine tastings.
In addition, pre-packed alcohol, such as bottles and boxes of wine could be deregulated, which means it could be sold in any quantity as long as the container was marked with an indication of the quantity.
Copies of the consultation document and a link to the online survey are available at www.gov.im/oft/consultations.gov.
The deadline for submissions is January 4, 2013.