New Zealand court revokes approval of alcohol delivery by pizzerias

March 24, 2002

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- A New Zealand high court upheld appeals by the police and the Auckland District Licensing Agency against allowing a Pizza Hut franchise to deliver beer and wine with pizzas. The verdict was read on Dec. 12.

Representatives of Restaurant Brands, an operator of dozens of Pizza Hut stores in the country, said it would have to examine closely the judge's ruling to be certain how it would affect its stores. Currently 10 of the company's Pizza Huts have licenses to sell alcohol off premise.

According to a story published in the New Zealand Herald, that country's Sale of Liquor Act technically allows beer and wine to be sold by supermarkets or grocery stores at least 3,000 square feet in size, and where the majority of products sold is food and foodstuffs.

Occasionally stores other than groceries are allowed to sell alcohol if the area's authority believe such beverages would be an "appropriate complement" to the food sold there.

The authority that allowed the Pizza Huts to sell alcohol earlier ruled that "Civilized drinking should go hand in hand with civilized eating," the Herald reported.

But the judge who heard the appeal ruled that pizza outlets were excluded from the provision because the food they sell isn't that most would consider "groceries."

New Zealand's Alcohol Health Watch was pleased with the decision, saying it has appropriately curbed the government's tendency to allow sales of alcoholic beverages at too many outlets.

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