Takeaway pints have proven popular across Scotland as pubs remain closed, but it's last orders for this service in Glasgow.

The head of licensing at Glasgow City Council has written to bar owners to say that this type of takeaway pints sale is ‘clearly inconsistent’ with the licensing laws in the city.

While the council have, in effect, turned a blind eye to these takeaway sales during lockdown, they now plan to crack down on those still offering takeaway pints once beer gardens reopen.

In the email to pub owners, the head of licensing says: “While Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 is silent in relation to the way in which alcohol is to be sold for off-sale, experience to date has established that this type of sale is clearly inconsistent with the licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder and securing public safety in terms of the levels of street drinking and public urination which are being reported and observed as a direct consequence of such sales.

“The situation has now, sadly, become untenable and risks ruining the reputation of the vast majority of the city’s fantastic and responsible license trade.”

The correspondence goes on to explain that such sales of takeaway pints were not anticipated by the licensing board in granting premises licenses with both on and off-sales and there is no recollection of any owners making such a case in their submissions to the board.

The council stress licensing standards and the police are also supportive of efforts to keep the licensed trade in the city viable, but that with the lifting of restrictions the sales of takeaway pints will no longer be allowed.

“With the lifting of restrictions, which will see the opening of external areas, with indoor areas hopefully soon thereafter, as from Monday 6 July, the sale of alcohol directly to members of the public for consumption off premises will be considered to be inconsistent with the licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder and securing public safety.”

Exceptions and consequences 

Drinks takeaway can still take place in the form of a home delivery or sold as pre-packaged, properly sealed product such as bottles of wine or cans of beer.

The council adds: “any premises who continue with this practise will risk having any occasional license for an external area revoked and/or a premises license review being submitted to the licensing board.”

The licensing laws in Glasgow

It has been illegal to consume alcohol or be in possession of an open container of alcohol in public places in Glasgow since 1996. The ban was enforced to crack down on drink-related violent crime.

Since lockdown and the selling of takeaway pints and drinks in Glasgow, this law has been widely criticised as it is not applicable in other cities such as Edinburgh.

Takeaway services for many pubs have proved to be a popular way to keep business afloat and return furloughed staff.

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About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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