Arwen Makin

Senior Associate

Licensing


Policing and Crime Act 2017 announces changes to the definition of alcohol

Arwen Makin

Alcoholic beverages fall in and out of favour with the drinking public as various fashions come and go. Babycham and Pina Colada have thankfully now been overlooked by craft ales and prosecco bars.  In recent years we have even seen altered states of alcohol introduced, and these have caused some headaches for those in power. 

Alcoholic Architecture was a concept developed by Bompas & Parr, featuring a walk-in cloud of breathable cocktail. They opened a bar that was live in Borough Market London from August 2015 to July 2016. They described the installation as “an alcoholic weather system for your tongue” where meteorology and mixology collided against a canvas of monastic mayhem, referencing the gothic splendour of neighbouring Southwark Cathedral. It is also now possible to have powdered alcohol, which has the benefit of being easily transported, but can be made into cocktails once mixed with various liquids.

The definition of alcohol under section 191 (1) of the Licensing Act 2003 is “spirits, wine, beer, cider or any other fermented, distilled or spirituous liquor”. This did not cover alcohol in either solid or vapour form, and the Government considered that the law needed to be amended to address this.  Ensuring the promotion of the licensing objectives is naturally made more difficult if there are loopholes in the law.

Section 137 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 now covers alcohol in any state.  This legislation comes into force on 6th April 2017, and whilst it will probably outlast these latest fashions, helps to futureproof against other inventions!

 

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