Bottle shop slammed over Facebook posts promoting ‘cheap booze’

Friday 12 October, 2018

The Alcohol Policy Coalition (APC) has welcomed the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation’s (VCGLR) action to ban Facebook posts by a Victorian alcohol retailer urging young people to stock up on cheap booze and to lose their dignity drinking.

 The ruling comes following a complaint made by the APC to the VCGLR about a series of highly irresponsible Facebook posts by Victorian liquor retailer, Premix King.

 One post encouraged people to bring their trucks and trailers to stock up on cheap booze. While another asked people to raise their hand if they have been ‘personally victimised’ by Little Fat Lamb Cider, and another referred to people losing all their dignity drinking Little Fat Lamb cider. The posts appeared on Premix King Facebook pages, which can be accessed by minors under 18 years of age.

Sarah Jackson, spokesperson for APC, is available for comment. To arrange an interview, contact Shannon Crane on 03 9514 6406.

 Alternatively, comments attributable to Ms Jackson are below:

Sarah Jackson, spokesperson for APC, has welcomed the ban, which will force the Premix King to remove the offending posts. 

 “Premix King has used insidious tactics to promote irresponsible alcohol consumption to young and vulnerable groups on Facebook, making light of the serious consequences of excessive drinking,” Ms Jackson said.

 The VCGLR issued notices to Premix King banning the Facebook posts using its power under section 115A of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 to ban advertising or promotions that are likely to encourage irresponsible consumption of alcohol or are not in the public interest.

 Although the banning notices will mean that Premix King is forced to withdraw the posts, Premix King will not receive any penalty as long as it complies.

 “Today’s decision shows that this retailer has been able to flout the rules around irresponsible liquor advertising for some time, strategically using social media to promote their products,” Ms Jackson said.

 “They know that they can get away with these irresponsible and harmful promotions on social media, which is much harder to monitor and has greater followings with the young and vulnerable groups they are trying to target.

 “While we are pleased to see attention now being turned to irresponsible promotions by liquor stores, we want to see stronger action on this type of advertising to protect young people from the harmful impact of the promotions. We want the Victorian Government to make it an offence for any liquor licensee to irresponsibly promote alcohol, with penalties that act as an effective deterrent.”

About the banning notice

This is the first time since 2015 the VCGLR has acted to ban irresponsible liquor advertising, and the first time since 2009 that the VCGLR has banned advertising by a liquor store, rather than a pub or bar.

Currently the VCGLR’s guidelines on responsible advertising only apply to on-premises liquor licensees – pubs, bars and clubs. This is despite the fact that around 80 per cent of alcohol consumed in Australia is purchased from liquor stores, which aggressively market cheap alcoholic products in the Victorian community, targeting vulnerable consumers.

The banning notice will mean that Premix King is forced to withdraw these posts, or be liable for a penalty of up to $19,000.

About the APC

The Alcohol Policy Coalition is a collaboration of health and allied agencies who share a concern about the level of alcohol misuse and the associated health and social consequences for the community. The Alcohol Policy Coalition develops and promotes evidence-based policy responses that are known to be effective in preventing and reducing alcohol related problems.

The members of the Alcohol Policy Coalition are: 

  • Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM)
  • Alcohol and Drug Foundation
  • Cancer Council Victoria
  • Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, La Trobe University
  • Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education
  • Jewish Community Council of Victoria
  • Public Health Association of Australia
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • St Vincent’s Health Australia
  • The Salvation Army
  • Turning Point
  • Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association
  • Violence Prevention Group, School of Psychology, Deakin University
  • Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.