Bottle shop buying limits cause fury


News major liquor stores will restrict the amount of booze Australians can buy as of today has been met with a mixed response.

Major bottle shops have introduced buying limits, restricting shoppers to two slabs of beer or cider and 12 bottles of wine in one transaction as part of a national alcohol limit by Retail Drinks Australia.

Retailers who have voluntarily joined the initiative include Liquorland, BWS, Vintage Cellars, Dan Murphy's, IGA Liquor and Aldi, Brews News reports.

It comes as panic buying of alcohol ahead of the Federal Government's coronavirus lockdown stripped shelves at bottle shops bare in recent weeks and social distancing measures were ignored.

But while many welcomed the decision, others despaired on social media.

Bottle shops have hit Aussies with restrictions after panic buying reduced stock levels. Picture: Twitter
Bottle shops have hit Aussies with restrictions after panic buying reduced stock levels. Picture: Twitter

"This is un-Australian," one person said on Twitter.

While another said: "Not the wine, please."




On Facebook others echoed the sentiments, calling for "booze to be left out of it".

"It's the only good thing we had left," another said.

However many welcomed the move, calling the national limits "generous" as some on Facebook also labelled alcohol "non essential".




"We know that consumers like to feel certainty of supply during times of crisis, and our members want to do their part to encourage people continuing to purchase alcohol responsibly as they normally would," Retail Drinks CEO Julie Ryan said.

"Our suppliers in breweries, wineries, distilleries and the wholesale and distribution of drinks continue to be fully operational and this means there are no issues of supply.

"However, it was clear that uncertainty on the impact of supply following the closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants last week caused some people to purchase differently."

The move comes in a bid to keep bottle shops on the essential services list. Picture: Josie Hayden
The move comes in a bid to keep bottle shops on the essential services list. Picture: Josie Hayden

The move to introduce voluntary temporary limits, which bottle shops and liquor retailers have opted into, comes as Retail Drinks tries to ensure bottle shops remain open as an essential service.

"These temporary measures will ensure that all consumers can continue to access their favourite drinks when they decide to make a purchase," Ms Ryan said.

It's not just beer, cider and wine that have been affected by the new limits, with pre-mix spirits now restricted to two cases and bottles of spirits also limited to two bottles that cannot exceed more than two litres.

Cask wine is also on the limit list, with shoppers unable to take home more than two casks exceeding no more than 10 litres.

Ms Ryan added that signage would be available within stores to explain the limits and could also be found on the participating retailers' websites.

"From opening of trading today signage will be displayed both in stores and online, which explains the purchasing limits," she said.

"These temporary restrictions are intended to operate per transaction and are clear and easy for both our retail workers and consumers, to understand.

"Put simply, each category of drinks, whether it be beer, wine, cider, RTDs or spirits, will have a limit for that category.

"Consumers can purchase up to the total limit in any two product categories."


The move comes just a week after scenes of chaos were shared on social media as Australians flocked to bottle shops amid confusion over whether they would remain open during the Government's coronavirus lockdown.

Many "non-essential" services have been forced to shut down in recent days, and it was initially unclear whether bottle shops qualified as "essential" or not.

A large number of customers didn't wait for answers, and social media was promptly flooded with images of the ensuing frenzy inside stores.

One worker at a bottle shop in Brisbane told The Brisbane Times it was "as busy as Christmas". If you've ever tried to stock up on wine on Christmas Eve, you will have some idea of what that means.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison later cleared things up, but as more and more businesses are forced into closure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, people are still worried booze shops will shut their doors too.

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Originally published as Bottle shop buying limits cause fury