Promotion of Discounted Alcohol Beverages 

In New Zealand, around 78% of beer and wine purchased at off-licences is sold on promotion [18]. This usually means that the product has been reduced in retail price. 

The impact of restricting the discounting of alcohol products has been studied [19]. Results in the UK showed that if a total ban on price discounting was implemented across all beverages at off-licensed premises, total alcohol consumption would reduce by 2.8%. A restriction on price discounting greater than 10% would reduce consumption by 1.6%. Interestingly, the study found that restrictions affected wine consumption the most – whereby a restriction on price discounting greater than 10% was found to reduce wine consumption by 11.2%. According to an Australia study [20], young people are very aware of in-store sale promotions in order to maximise their alcohol purchases within their budgets. Cheap alcohol also facilitates social get-togethers that would not have occurred otherwise.

The following quote from the study is a good example of the effects of alcohol discounts:

“So you buy like maybe a carton or something. But then if there's two cartons or the second one is half price, you wouldn’t probably then save it for another night, you'd just yeah kinda get more people in. It changes the way you kinda approach the night (P38, M, 18, Risky drinker, Focus Group).”


Due to the known harm from promotions, New Zealand has laws which restrict the promotion and/or advertising of alcohol that encourages excessive consumption, and advertising or promotion of discounts of 25% or more.

This means that it is only against the law to advertise and promote a discount - it is not against the law to have a discount of this amount.

This law applies to anyone undertaking a business including on-licences, off-licences, club licences and special licences and to any promotions run by a person or company which is not licensed.

Section 237 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act is called Irresponsible promotion of alcohol. This section prohibits:

  • Any person that encourages people, or is likely to encourage people, to consume alcohol to an excessive extent, whether on licensed premises or at any other place; or
  • Any person to promote or advertise a discounted alcohol product that leads people to believe the price is 25% or more below the normal price of the product (other than in a licensed premises or in an off-licence catalogue); or
  • on-licensed premises to promote or advertise discounted alcohol that leads people to believe the price is 25% or more below the normal price of the product AND can be seen or heard from outside the premises; or
  • Promotions or advertisements of alcohol that is free of charge (does not include free sampling), or
  • Offers goods and services or the opportunity to win a prize on the condition that alcohol is bought; or
  • Promotions which are in a manner aimed at, or that has, or is likely to have, special appeal to minors.

Although off-licence catalogues are excluded from the section, other media is included – such as billboards, window displays, etc. Examples of acceptable and unacceptable promotions at on-licences and off-licences have been developed by the Health Promotion Agency.

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 also introduced restrictions on where supermarket and groceries stores can display and promote alcohol. This is now confined to a “single area” within the store. Promotions must not be seen or heard outside of this area or from outside of the store. For more information on single areas in supermarkets, please click here.