Canned beer banned at rugby

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2012
Heineken
BEER AND FOOTY: Beer will no longer be able to be sold in cans, let alone glass.

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Beer sold at the country's biggest sporting stadium, Eden Park, during Super Rugby games will have to be sold in plastic bottles after the Liquor Licensing Authority banned the use of cans, despite the fact cans were allowed during the Rugby World Cup.

Heineken was sold in cans during the Rugby World Cup but Lion, which supplies alcohol at home games for the Blues in Auckland, the Chiefs in Hamilton, and the Highlanders in Dunedin, will have to use PET bottles – a move the company has called "heavy handed".

In the decision from the Liquor Licensing Authority, released recently, Eden Park Catering's appeal of an earlier decision requiring that liquor sold at Super rugby games be sold only in plastic cups or bottles, is outlined.

The company said that most stadiums worldwide permit liquor to be sold in cans, and that police had not established that cans pose a safety problem.

Police submitted that "if a crowd does get excessively excited" people may used cans as missiles.

"The sloping nature of Eden Park seating enables missiles to be lobbed on to people below."

The authority said that an earlier decision by the Rugby World Cup authority to allow cans at the event was because of "unprecedented" control measures in place, including CCTV surveillance, that did not apply to Super Rugby games.

The liquor licencing authority found Eden Park Catering simply preferred to use cans rather than having a justifiable reason to do so.

The move has been welcomed by Alcohol Advisory Council chief executive Gerard Vaughan, who said from a crowd safety point of view "plastic bottles are preferable to cans".

"The impact of a full can or a flattened can being thrown versus a plastic bottle is obvious and creates too great a risk to safety at large events."

However Lion spokeswoman Liz Read said customer feedback had shown a dislike for purchasing beer in plastic bottles.

"Feedback from many sporting teams around NZ is that their supporters regularly cite this as something that impacts their live-sport experience."

The company was also reviewing whether it was economically viable to continue supplying beer in plastic bottles.

Read said the company "understood and supported the need to ensure safe stadium environments for everyone". But there was no evidence that serving beer in cans was more risky than other vessels.

"Banning cans seems an unnecessary and heavy-handed approach."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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