No ID, no sale of sparkling juice

North Shore Times - - OUT & ABOUT - THOMAS HEATON

A new sparkling grape juice is be­ing treated like booze, de­spite not con­tain­ing a sin­gle drop of al­co­hol.

Lisa New­lands, 43, at­tempted to buy a bot­tle of the Lin­dauer’s new faux bub­bly, Sparkling Grape, af­ter 11pm Satur­day, on her way home from work.

She left empty handed be­cause the $8 bot­tle is be­ing treated like booze, so cus­tomers must have ID and pur­chase within the store’s al­co­hol-deal­ing hours.

Shop­ping at Count­down Taka­puna New­lands says it was ‘‘mind bog­gling’’ to be told she couldn’t buy a bot­tle of sparkling juice.

A tee­to­taller, she says she was ‘‘ex­cited’’ to find a new non-al­co­holic bev­er­age near the soft­drinks.

‘‘I read the la­bel and thought it sounded re­ally nice. I took it up to the counter and they said ‘it’s al­co­hol, you can’t buy it’.’’

The su­per­vi­sor told her it was the only brand of grape juice they could not sell her, be­cause it was mar­keted as if it were al­co­hol. She says even some staff were con­fused by the vir­gin juice pro­hi­bi­tion, which was clearly la­belled as ‘‘al­co­hol-free’’.

‘‘When you’re sit­ting there, hav­ing an ar­gu­ment in pub­lic about sparkling grape juice, bizarre.’’

But the su­per­mar­ket’s al­co­hol re­spon­si­bil­ity man­ager Paul Radich says the de­ci­sion on the juice is down to an agree­ment with sup­plier, Lion. ‘‘As this is an adult al­co­hol al­ter­na­tive we agreed with Lion to re­tail the prod­uct as if it was al­co­hol,’’ he says.

‘‘We take our re­spon­si­bil­ity around the sale of re­stricted items se­ri­ously, and this is why we are vig­i­lant around all prod­ucts from prom­i­nent al­co­hol brands, so as to not nor­malise a prod­uct which looks very sim­i­lar to other al­co­holic prod­ucts.’’

Count­down can­not place the non­al­co­holic drink in their booze sec­tion, so po­si­tion as close as pos­si­ble. New­lands vis­ited Mil­ford’s Count­down, where she says clearly marked boxes sat next to pack­ets of potato chips.

Auck­land Coun­cil al­co­hol li­cens­ing man­ager Rob Ab­bott says there’s noth­ing in lo­cal acts, or any reg­u­la­tions, pro­hibit­ing the sale of the grape juice af­ter 11pm.

Radich says it is ‘‘Count­down’s pol­icy that zero per cent and lowal­co­hol prod­ucts should be treated like the rest of our beer and wine prod­ucts, and sold re­spon­si­bly.’’ it’s just

LISA NEW­LANDS

Count­down is sell­ing Lin­dauer’s Sparkling Grape range as al­co­hol, so re­quire age ver­i­fi­ca­tion.

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