Icecream hotspot earns booze ban

SAM BOYER
Last updated 10:15 11/11/2012
Jiten Patel will lose his liquor licence because his store sells too many icecreams.
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ

CONED OFF: Jiten Patel will lose his liquor licence because his store sells too many icecreams.

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Spring sun, a trip to the beach and a lick of an icecream would have most of us jumping for joy, but the onset of the summer season has one Kiwi shopkeeper down in the mouth.

Jiten Patel, who has run The Oriental Bay Store in Wellington for 20 years, has been so successful selling icecreams that he's going to have his liquor licence revoked.

He has until the end of the month to clear its stock after the Liquor Licensing Authority determined the store didn't sell enough grocery items. Under new laws, dairies aren't allowed to sell alcohol.

Patel says the store was being punished simply for having a prime beachside location.

The authority decision, released this month, said the store was "well known as a popular outlet for icecreams" and its location by the beach made it a "magnet for day trippers". But they revoked the licence because the principal purpose of the store's business was deemed to be icecreams.

For shops to qualify as off- licences their main purpose needs to be the sale of groceries, or "main order household foods", which the authority classify as: "Those items that the majority of New Zealand families purchase to take home for preparation and consumption."

Under that definition items such as milk and baked goods - cakes, pastries and muffins - were excluded because they were not used in the preparation of food. Pies and bread, on the other hand, were considered groceries in the authority's decision.

The authority's seemingly arbitrary definitions were confusing, Patel told the Sunday Star-Times, adding his store sold everything from batteries and toiletries to breakfast cereal and baking products.

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- Sunday Star Times

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