South Australian Supermarkets to Sell only Bottled Wine

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Would the sale of alcohol at supermarkets contribute to alcohol fuelled violence? This is the question that the public needs to ask themselves, the opposition think it would whereas the state government intends to introduce draft legislation to parliament to create a new liquor licence which would allow supermarkets to sell wine. The opposition claims that this would be a contradiction of the government’s policies regarding alcohol fuelled violence. A discussion paper has been released on the issue.

The new licence would allow large enough supermarkets to sell bottled wine. It is feared that this may make it easier for people to abuse alcohol and may contribute to social problems in some areas.

The Attorney General is of another opinion. He says that the proposal is meant to make it more convenient for people to pick up a bottle of wine while out shopping for their dinner, not for those who abuse alcohol but those who enjoy a responsible glass of wine with their meal. He says the problems that are so rife regarding alcohol are mostly concentrated in the entertainment districts and night clubs in particular, not people shopping at the supermarket. Especially considering that these “alcohol abusers” usually drink stronger liquors not commonly wine.

A post on the website explains:

Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond says she is suspending judgment until she sees the details but is concerned it could aggravate the types of social problems already caused by alcohol.

“The Government has identified alcohol-fuelled violence is a problem they say they’re trying to address and that indeed preloading is one of the problems they say is causing this alcohol-fuelled violence, that is people having alcohol before going out to licensed premises,” she said.

Ms Redmond says excessive drinking is a problem among teenagers and young adults and the culture needs to change.

“There is implicit in the attitude that you have to have the availability of alcohol generally a lesson that all our young people seem to be learning and that is you cannot socialise without alcohol,” she said.

Attorney-General John Rau says the proposal is intended to save shoppers time and would not lead to more street crime.

“We don’t want to turn supermarkets into in effect bottle shops … this is a very limited and deliberately limited licence category,” he said.

“The idea with this is that a person who might be buying some chops or some vegetables for their evening meal can also pick up a bottle of wine in the same place.

“There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that that sort of person is displaying irresponsible consumption of alcohol.

“The alcohol-fuelled violence we see in the city in particular, which I abhor, tends to occur in late-night venues where there are large amounts of people where spirits and fairly powerful alcoholic beverages are sold.”


Also according to the Attorney General, staff in supermarkets selling wine would have to be over 18 years old and would have to undergo mandatory responsible service of alcohol training. This training is aimed at teaching staff how to sell alcohol in a socially responsible manner.

The new proposal also aims to help Australian winemakers grow their businesses by giving them a platform to sell their products. This is one of the major aims of the proposal as the post goes on to state:

“Small producers here in South Australia are feeling a bit of a squeeze at the present time by having limited access to retail markets,” he said.

“We would hope some of the smaller independent wineries would be able to take advantage of this as an alternative way of getting their product sold into the local market.”


While supermarket owners are happy about the proposal because they believe it would be good for business, making their stores more of a one-stop shop and appealing to more customers, liquor store owners aren’t too happy. Also if passed the licence would allow supermarkets in South Australia to come in line with those in Victoria, ACT, New Zealand, Europe and America.

Unfortunately there is no perfect solution because while supermarkets benefit, speciality retailers may suffer particularly those who specialise in wine. Liquor store owners feel that this is just the first step in selling all alcohols at supermarkets, which would jeopardise their business.

The Australian Hotels Association wants the proposal withdrawn because they believe authorities did not consult the industry when drawing up the proposal. There are concerns that the government are trying to bring an end to liquor stores.

This is what the AHA went on to state:

Spokesman Ian Horne says the association will raise several concerns with the government during a period allowed for submissions.

“Many government agencies, South Australian government agencies, are very, very concerned about the expanding of availability of alcohol,” he said.

“On the one hand this Government is trying to shut down liquor outlets with curtailing promotions of alcohol, trying to reduce hours, trying to make it more difficult for current operators with their promotions, and on the other hand they’re giving a free kick to the big end of town.”



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