By Ian Neubauer
A Sydney hotel has implemented a three-month ban on the sale of RTDs to examine the purported link between excessive alcohol consumption and RTDs.
The Steyne Hotel in Manly has also become the first licensed premises in the state to ban the sale of take-away RTDs after 8:00pm in a move that has been praised by local police, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
Steyne Hotel general manager, Guy Fraser-Hills, said evidence suggests RTDs facilitate binge drinking by young females because RTDs are more quickly consumed than other alcohol-based beverages.
Fraser-Hills also discounted the theory that RTD drinkers would simply switch to other categories like wine, arguing that longer service time under the new policy would alter the behaviour of binge drinkers.
“If you are ordering a drink that we must pour instead of simply open and hand over the bar there is a longer service time, as the rate at which drinks can be dispensed is clearly much slower,” he said. “So the rate of consumption is affected by that as well. And also it gives our staff more time to engage clients from an old-fashioned service perspective and a better ability to access their level of intoxication.”
However, Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia spokesperson, Stephen Riden, voiced concern over the ban.
“Issues of intoxication and the responsible service of alcohol are very complex,” he said. “We don’t believe a ban on one particular type of alcohol product will lead to much change.”
In a related issue, Fraser-Hills said he took exception to The Sunday Telegraph’s report on the ban, which described the Steyne as “one of the most violent pubs in NSW” and twice mentioned its ranking on a list of the state’s 100 most violent pubs released in March by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics.
“This hotel had 38 recorded incidents for the 12-month period that list represents,” he said. “This Saturday night alone I had 5000 people come through my doors between 8:00pm and 2:00am, when I stopped counting.
“If we were a notoriously violent hotel, why do I have employees who have been working here for 30 years, and why would people even come here? The incident rate is probably 0.001 for every patron that comes into this hotel. I don’t know how much more secure the venue can get.”
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