News item

Under-strength spirits conviction

AlcoholBottlesInventive Leisure Services Ltd pleaded guilty 9 August at York Magistrates Court to being in possession for sale of under-strength spirits at Revolution Bar off Coney Street. The company was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £4,035 in prosecution costs.

City of York Council trading standards officers uncovered the offences during a routine inspection in June 2011. They found vodka and whisky with lower than required alcohol content. The company said this was most probably caused by using open-top pourers and by storing the bottles on under-lit shelving which can heat the bottle and lead to evaporation. In some cases water may have dripped back into the liquid after the pourers had been cleaned. The court heard how one of the spirits, a whisky, was more than half the strength it should have been. It had an alcoholic volume of just 16.1% when the minimum level for whisky is 40%.

Councillor Dafydd Williams, the council’s cabinet member for Crime and Stronger Communities said: “Businesses are reminded to manage their stock appropriately. Whilst serving under-strength spirits – caused by evaporation rather than watering down – doesn’t increase a business’s profits, it does mean that customers aren’t getting what they paid for and are expecting. We’re committed to upholding high trading standards in the city and won’t tolerate residents and visitors being short-changed.”

In addition to its routine and unannounced inspection of licensed premises, the council’s wrote to all licensed premises in February 2011 to advise that ‘the use of pourers which open directly into the bottle is not recommended in place of the lid on spirit bottles. These provide no closure to the bottle and may allow alcohol to evaporate, resulting in loss of alcoholic strength and a product that does not meet its legal description as stated on the bottle’.

ENDS
For further information please contact:
Megan Rule
Communications & Media
City of York Council
Tel: 01904 552017
Fax: 01904 551064
Mob/out of hours: 07767318082
Email: megan.rule@york.gov.uk