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New off-licence liquor stores in the CBD may face considerable opposition from police, after a new player to the market was forced to sell only craft beers.
Licensing for Manners Street’s Craft Beer Capital Co was rejected by a district licensing committee on January 27.
While a rejection of a liquor license is hardly a rarity, the conditions imposed on the store’s proprietor James Tucker set a dangerous precedent.
Police and Regional Public Health presumably objected to the fact that Mr Tucker did not plan to exclusively sell beers that were brewed by a phalanx of bohemians in an abandoned mental hospital on the outskirts of Aro Valley. Instead he intended to offer swill like Heineken as well. Hilariously, Tucker argued that Heineken met the criteria of a so-called ‘premium’ beer.
Medical Officer of Health Stephen Palmer did not mince his words and made his organisation’s plans clear, explaining that more expensive beers would be out of the price range of “young binge drinkers”—i.e., students.
Thus, the Craft Beer Capital Co’s forced closing time of 9pm and inflated price range is likely to serve as indication of things to come in this city, as liquor stores inevitably close down and their successors have no choice but to meet the restrictions forced on Mr Tucker.
The recent influx of craft beers into New Zealand’s liquor market marks the first major shake up of the industry since the establishment of Independent Liquor in 1989—the company that brought New Zealand such social lubricants as the Vodka Cruiser.
A twenty million litre decrease in beer production was observed in 2013, squarely to blame on the propulsion of craft beers into the market. Craft beers tend to be sold in smaller quantities, and the higher percentage of many craft beers does not appear to be compensating for the drop in production—beers with more than 5 per cent alcohol by volume dropped 1.5 million litres in 2013.
With cans of plain packaged ‘BEER’ from The Garage Project costing about $6.00, the forced consumption of craft beers will undoubtedly wreak havoc on the alcoholic’s wallet. Fortunately, New World Metro continues to sell cans of Kingfisher Strong for $3.00.