Local Council To Kill Beer Festivals in New Zealand?

On The LawnThere is a new beer festival “On The Lawn” looking to setup at the Mount for a 8th January Beer Festival.

I loved the Blues, Brew & BBQ’s event at the Mount. Shame the local council and police closed it down. It kind of all fell apart once they made it an R18 event, and kids and families couldn’t come any more. It seemed to be preloading cause the majority of the issues.

I really like beer festivals during summer time, where people are having a fun time, and sampling tasty beers in the sun.

Here are some details about “On The Lawn”

No beer over 5%abv ? If Epic was to go we would have ONE beer. So much for people being able to taste a range of different beers and flavours.

“FOOD – BEER – WINE” Question: Does the wine have to be 5% or below?

By controlling the ABV below 5% you are limiting the beer to mainstream industrial lagers, which the public have no respect for. They have no taste and you are just encouraging people to drink large volumes of flavourless beer.  This isn’t an environment to encourage education and sampling of new flavours and beer styles. The council is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy for trouble by implementing this ABV limit.

Not sure how they have sorted this out with the council, after Blues & Brews was closed down, and Bay Brew Fest couldn’t get out of the gates.

Looking forward to more details, and possibly a great event at the Mount, during the coming summer.


Earlier in the year the “Bay Beer Fest” had to cancel their event due at a similar time and location, and made this statement:

Bay Beer Fest“We have had huge support from prospective exhibitors, the public, council, the venue, and liquor licencing.  However the opposition towards the event by Tauranga Police has been our stumbling block.  In order to do justice to the amazing event we have planned, this opposition will not realistically leave us time to work through the issues that have been raised, to deliver the event to the public by 4th January 2015.”





The last I heard about the “New Zealand Beer Festival 2015” in Auckland, was that the limit would be 6% abv for full serve of a beer. Last year the lines were too long because the small serve sizes of 165ml. I would expect they are going to have to do some awesome marketing and have some amazing value proposition to get people to come back after this year.


Dear Council, do you think that limiting the ABV will give you the outcome you want.

It will stop many of the educated, sophisticated beer drinkers from going, as they will be limited to beer with little flavour, or a very limited choice of beer with flavour at these lower ABV levels.

Anyway just some thoughts about how the powers that be, are reducing choice, manipulating and socially engineering the public, “for their own good”.

Auckland’s Alcohol Problem

There is so much to read these days about Auckland’s alcohol problem, it is hard to get a sense of what really needs to be done. The media doesn’t help the cause. Media are very to quick cut and paste a story which is sensational, and the police seem to have done a good job getting their message across. And they probably have done a very good job convincing the council members on what they have to do.

The group that seems to be being victimised are the hospitality and retail liquor businesses who employ people and give people a safe and controlled environment to enjoy alcohol.

I have to give a hat tip to Matt Heath today who wrote the best article I’ve seen in this debate so far. It is totally worth a read. It represents the majority, not the minority problem fringe.

NZH Wine PourBooze has been doing Kiwis a favour for yonks

Best quote Bad behaviour is a dickhead problem not a booze problem.”

“The law should punish people who can’t handle their booze and leave the rest of us alone. Most Kiwis are smart enough to drink when they feel like it and cut back when they have things to do. If you are one of the very few who becomes addicted, then seek medical help. Those who get aggressive and commit crimes should stop drinking or pay the price. Simple.”

On a side note: Another observation I made with Matt’s positive article about alcohol, was the image the NZ Herald chose to use. It was wine being poured into a glass. There has been an observed trend now over a several years, where the media will always use an image of beer or beer bottle when reporting a negative story on alcohol. It would seem that since this story is positive you couldn’t possibly use an image of beer. Seems odd they use beer bottles, when many negative articles written are referring to RTD’s. Would make sense to use an image of an RTD bottle?


Then there is this article which tries to represent both sides of the argument in some way

Auckland’s after-hours showdown

(note the photo on this article is “beer”, there is your hint it is going to be negative in some way towards alcohol)

This article comes across as business owners being on the back foot from the council threatening to reduce their conditions to run their business, ultimately affecting their employees.

“McCaw, whose group owns 11 city nightspots, is even more direct. He is, he says, “quite fired up”.

“I honestly believe the safest place to be after midnight in Auckland City is inside a licensed premise – I am absolutely certain of this fact,” he says. The problem is outside – and therefore is the council and police’s problem.

“I find it incredibly difficult that they are laying some of the responsibility for the unsafeness of the streets at the feet of [publicans]…inside is my responsibility, and goddamn it, I take it seriously because if I don’t, I lose my business.”

Actually, given the ratio of bouncers to cops, bar owners are doing more to guard the late-night streets.”


I have recently experienced the council at work with liquor licensing.  A frustrating experience with the amount of time it took Epic Brewing to get an off license for internet sales at our office. We are talking 7 months, plus three visits from people from the council. These visits raised questions like:

“where is your sprinkler system? you need one if you are going to have more than 19 people in this building” – WTF!? we are applying for online sales, there will be no public visiting, let alone 19 people.

“what are your operating hours going to be? how about we put 7am to 7pm?” WTF!? we are selling beer online, from a website. Shouldn’t the website be available 24/7, it’s the internet?

Why did it have to take 7 month to issue an off license to an internet based business, not open to the public, located in industrial Penrose, with no complaints from the public?

It would seem the people involved didn’t have a very good grasp on what was required.


Is the council capable of, or have people competent enough to represent the community to make an informed, common sense, functional Local Alcohol Policy, without being influenced by the powerful, and politically motivated?

The Council represents the community right? Below are a few articles about the community not being happy with the council’s decision regarding a new liquor license and protesting the fact. Seems like common sense should have prevailed when looking at issuing this license for an outlet across from the school. Listen to the people who vote you into power or you will be removed by the people.

Protesters angry liquor outlet allowed opposite school

In Mangere and Otahuhu there are 106 alcohol licences…

…large support from Auckland residents with 91% of residents wanting no increase in the number of liquor stores.

There will also be a reduction in trading hours and outlets would not be allowed to be within 100 metres of sensitive sites such as schools or churches.

Residents oppose liquor store by school

But 10 days later, the licence was granted by the Auckland District Licensing Committee.

“People making these decisions are not from our community. Enough is enough,” Fowler said.

Booze store location near school ‘devastating’

 their off-licence for wine and beer at the grocery store, close the liquor store between 3pm and 4pm on school days and not sell single RTDs (ready to drink spirit-based drinks).

The closest off-licence liquor store is about 1km away.

Crowd of 200 protest against booze shop

A 200-strong crowd of community members and politicians gathered this morning to protest the Auckland District Licensing Committee’s decision last week to approve the Mangere outlet opposite the Southern Cross Campus school.


The big questions for me “are the people in council who are responsible for the Local Alcohol Policy the right people for the job”? Do they have enough common sense? Do they have enough understanding of the businesses that are involved, and do they actually have any first hand experience of the hospitality/liquor retail industry? Are they making decisions based on statistics presented by influential groups with their own agendas, which don’t necessarily meet all the needs of the whole community, but only their own?

I don’t know what the answers is, but I feel that we are still some way off from getting a result that is going to get the best outcome for the community. It’s a shame the silent majority never speak up or act until things have changed and it’s too late. Changing things back is always harder after the fact.

What do you think – Shape Auckland

Local Alcohol Policy – have your say, the deadline is 16th July.

ALCOHOL – The Silent Majority

It has been encouraging to see the other side of the story about alcohol in the media the last day or so. The message has been all doom and gloom from the council and police, and “lets punish the silent majority for the sake of the few idiots out there”.

Pouring Beer OutKiwis not the worst bingers

“The latest Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health by the World Health Organisation has revealed New Zealanders aged 15 and over drank on average 10.9 litres of pure alcohol a head in 2010, up from 9.6l in 2005, and well above the 6.2l global average.”

Global average will include countries where alcohol is not consumed because of religious reasons. Example Muslims don’t drink alcohol, and they make up 23.4% of the world’s population. Therefore saying we are well above the average is just a dumb comparison. Adjust the global average by taking out the 23.4% of the population that doesn’t drink and NZ might actually be below this level.

These included “relentless” alcohol marketing, cheap availability, and a drinking age of 18, Sellman said. “As long as we have about 10 New Zealanders dying every week as a result of drunkenness, we deserve the unhealthy reputation of being a wild-south binge-drinking country.”

How can you have faith in these so-called experts, or believe what they say if it is different from the last time you heard that stat. This is a classic example here. National Addiction Centre director Doug Sellman says 10 people a week die of drunkenness (which is about 520 per year). But Dr Geoff Robinson, Wellington Hospital chief medical officer and drug and alcohol specialist had only said a few days before said there are 1000 alcohol related deaths a year in New Zealand. So which number is it? How can you have a debate, or serious discussion to try to find a solution to a problem if the information you are dealing with keeps changing.

Rob Warner: Anti-booze campaign focuses on wrong target

This is a good article with a good angle and shows a group of people who will suffer from the proposed changes to the Local Alcohol Policy (LAP)

“To formulate a correct solution to a problem the correct questions need to be asked. In Auckland’s CBD, these are: why have drunken idiots been allowed to run riot for so long, and why do the Auckland Council’s proposed solutions not address the core issues and instead punish the majority who drink responsibly?”


Why not start with making public drunkenness an offence? The right people will be targeted, and the culture will start to change – one of the key objectives of the legislation, surely.


The police can already write people a ticket for being drunk ($250), so why isn’t this happening?

Police will be able to issue $250 infringement notices to people caught drinking in liquor ban areas – even if they are inside parked cars – and to patrons drunk enough or young enough to be ejected from a bar.


Some facts on the topic of alcohol-related harm in the CBD:

• Since 2001, public disorder offences in the Auckland CBD have declined 60.5 per cent. Assaults have declined 42 per cent. The sky is not falling.

• This decline happened despite a 19 per cent population increase in central Auckland and an Auckland-wide increase of 23.6 per cent from 2001 to 2013.

If there could be an agreed on, set of figures/statistics relating to alcohol, then maybe there could be some agreed on, set of decisions and action points to address the problem areas.

It would be interesting to find out who or what organisation decided on 14 standard drinks as a weekly maximum for a male in New Zealand. What standard drink is that? The world doesn’t even have an agreed standard on what a “standard drink” is.

I have started a page to try to collect the statistics that are quoted in the media to see if there is someway to crack the code, and cut through the propaganda. New Zealand Alcohol Statistics.