By Deborah Jackson, editor National Liquor News

Aldi has had an application for a liquor licence at its Harrisdale store in Perth knocked back by the Western Australian Liquor Authority.

This comes after the discount supermarket chain was granted conditional approval for a liquor licence at its store in Butler, Perth. The conditions of the licence state that Aldi’s range is limited to a delineated area within the store, around a quarter of the size of a standard bottle shop and doesn't carry any chilled alcohol.

It is understood that Aldi Australia has also applied for liquor licences at a limited number of other potential store locations in WA.

Local independent liquor retailers aren’t overly concerned by Aldi moving in, with Chris O’Brien the general manager of Liquor Barons in WA telling TheShout that he questions whether Aldi will be able to run its liquor model under the conditions the director has imposed.

“Aldi has applied for liquor licences for some of their stores, and I'm not full bottle on how many and which stores, but one licence has been granted, but it's not what they asked for. It's so significantly different that we would question whether Aldi is actually able to run its liquor model profitably with the conditions that the director has imposed on that licence,” said O’Brien.

“Effectively, Aldi wanted to have an area within its supermarket that it could sell liquor from, and the director approved a licence that required it to be a separated area and for that area to have an approved manager on-site at all times, which means that effectively liquor purchases can only go through a dedicated cash register.”

But in saying that, O’Brien recognises that for every bottle of alcohol that Aldi sells, it is one less sale going to the independents.

“It's a zero sum game, so for every licence that they get and every bottle of wine, beer or spirits that they sell, is one bottle that somebody else doesn't, so we're obviously always concerned at the granting of new licences. However, with the conditions imposed on the licence it is difficult to see how Aldi can run their successful liquor model.”

A spokesperson for Aldi Australia told TheShout that as a responsible and experienced retailer, Aldi observes all regulations for the purchase of alcohol. 

“We partner with DrinkWise Australia as part of this commitment. Unlike other supermarkets that sell alcohol, we do not have separate, large format stores and our stores do not carry any chilled alcohol products for immediate consumption. Our range is limited to a delineated area within store, approximately one quarter of the size of a standard bottle shop. This means alcohol purchases must be made during the limited opening hours of the store and customers must enter a supermarket environment to purchase liquor,” the Aldi spokesperson told TheShout.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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