Proprietor's beer humour falls flat

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 08:50 04/08/2014
Dave Weir
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

NO JOKING: Junction Hotel proprietor Dave Weir says the sign had got the thumbs down by the Health Promotion Agency.

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A publican's humorous sign promoting free beer has fallen flat with a health agency.

Outside Spring Creek's Junction Hotel life-sized mannequin Pero holds a sign stating "Pero says free beer tomorrow."

The Health Promotion Agency has warned the proprietor the cheeky sign could be in breach of licensing laws.

Under licensing rules, licensed premises cannot through promotion, signage or activities encourage the consumption of alcohol to an excessive extent.

If action is taken by police or licensing inspectors, publican Dave Weir could face a $10,000 fine.

Weir was contacted by the agency on Wednesday after a complaint was lodged by a member of the public.

Weir said he bought the mannequin two months ago as a quirky talking point.

"It is a piss-take that tomorrow never comes. There will be no free beer, that was never the intention.

"The reason for buying the man was that it was outside-the-square promotion. We are aware of the expectations on us. With this promotion we thought we were inside the scope of the law."

Pero had been placed outside the pub for the past two months and there had been no complaints, Weir said.

"A lot of motorists that drive past give it the thumbs up. Truckies have always tooted at it.

"It is something different. We were thinking outside the box."

Weir said he was "flabbergasted" by the complaint but urged for common sense to prevail.

"It is political correctness gone too far. If that's the way it is going to be the next sign will be ‘I am not allowed to advertise free beer as the licensing law rules that out'."

Health Promotion Agency general manager policy, research and advice Dr Andrew Hearn said they understood the humour.

"While we get the joke, however the reality is a member of the public had complained about the sign and, strictly speaking, any promo outside licensed premises offering free drinks may be in breach of the law."

Pub signs in Marlborough are renowned for being a barrel of laughs. A sign outside the Woodbourne Tavern in Renwick says ‘free beer yesterday'.

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- The Marlborough Express

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