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Sydney alcohol delivery services toast possible relaxation of lockout laws

David Berger and Nathan Besser, co-owners of alcohol delivery service Jimmy Brings. Photo: Sasha Woolley Alcohol home delivery service Jimmy Brings experienced a 40 per cent drop in business when the lockout laws were introduced. Photo: Steve Lunam
Nanjing Night Net

Alcohol delivery app Tipple launched in Melbourne earlier this year. Photo: Justin McManus

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Late-night alcohol delivery services in Sydney have been buoyed by likely changes to the controversial lockout laws, which could see takeaway alcohol sales extended to midnight.

Nathan Besser​, co-founder of Sydney’s first booze delivery van Jimmy Brings, reported a 40 per cent drop in business when the hardline alcohol restrictions were first introduced in 2014.

“We were only trading from 6pm until midnight then, so it effectively cut our business by a third. We noticed the impact almost overnight.”

When Jimmy Brings was first launched in 2012, it was aimed at meeting demand from customers who “just wanted another glass or two at home” after dinner.

“That kind of business has been really affected by the change in the laws,” said Mr Besser, adding that their most common order was two bottles of Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

“The introduction of the laws meant a reduction in hours and a big reduction in revenue. So we offset that by expanding our territory and opening from midday.”

In his review of the lockout laws, former High Court justice Ian Callinan recommended that closing time for over-the-counter alcohol sales be relaxed from 10pm to 11pm.

However Deputy Premier and Justice Minister Troy Grant is expected to recommend to cabinet that purchases be extended until midnight statewide.

The proposed relaxation of takeaway alcohol sales has drawn concern from health experts who believe it may lead to an increase in violence.

Under the proposed changes lockouts at licensed venues will also be pushed back from 1.30am to 2am in the CBD and Kings Cross.

“It’s great news, if they do follow through,” said Shane Goubran, co-owner of delivery service Quick Bottle.

“When the laws came into place, business dropped by about 20 per cent … two hours a day, every day, that’s 14 hours a week. It’s a big chunk of business.”

Quick Bottle started in 2013, and operates under partnerships with different liquor stores around the eastern suburbs, the city and the inner west. It has also recently launched in Melbourne.

“A lot of families out there have been impacted. Especially independent liquor store operators. If they get back those two hours it’s definitely going to make a massive difference.”

Restaurant owner Daniel Sofo​ said he could attest to the unsustainable climate that takeaway sales restrictions had created for alcohol delivery services attempting to start up.

In July last year Mr Sofo launched WineRun, an on-demand scooter delivery service for wine, beer, spirits and snacks. But after a year of operation the business has shut down.

“One of many reasons was that we did a lot of our trade between the last hour 9-10pm and you can’t make money from that,” Mr Sofo said.

“A change in the law will see a proliferation of late-night services and definitely benefit the consumer and start-ups as well. If want to keep people off the street, to party at home, let them buy booze at home.”

Mr Sofo said if the changes are passed he would consider going back into a delivery business.

However not everyone is in favour of the relaxation of the laws, namely emergency services groups who believe the current more stringent laws should be rolled out across the state.

“Every hour more of alcohol service after midnight precipitates an increase in alcohol-fuelled violence by 20 per cent, compromising peoples’ lives and safety,” said paramedic Gerard Hayes in September, as spokesman for the Last Drinks Coalition, a group representing paramedics, police officers, doctors and nurses.

Dr John Crozier, a councillor for the Royal Australian College of Surgeons said “each hour in [alcohol] trade results in a significant increase in domestic violence statewide.”Latest consumer news  

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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