Dunedin bar owner Rob Dale says liquor law reforms have
increased pre-loading and discourage people from drinking in
Mr Dale owns Urban Factory, Capone and Boogie Nights, all of
which cater primarily to students.
He said his bars had been applying intoxication standards
long before the reforms were introduced six months ago but
earlier closing times and increased alcohol prices in bars
were fuelling a culture of pre-loading.
The reforms, which came into effect in December 2013, set
trading hours that meant licensed premises had to close at
Mr Dale said it was ''impossible'' for bars to compete
against bottle stores and it was difficult for bars to
provide a safe and fun environment when they had to charge 15
to 20 times more for alcohol. His bars were turning away at
least one-third of patrons for being intoxicated because of
the pre-loading culture in Dunedin.
''People are pre-loading more, so we're turning more people
Mr Dale said his bars had eight to 10 doormen working on
Saturday nights, and anyone seen outside with alcohol was
He believed more people were drinking at large parties in the
student area than in bars and clubs, and there was a
misconception about why people went to bars.
''There's a bad perception that people have, that people go
to a bar to drink,'' he said.
People went to bars for the people, rather than the music or
to buy alcohol, he said.
Law reforms had decreased the number of people drinking in
bars, but not the number of people drinking, he said.
- by Daisy Hudson