ID required for zero alcohol products

Both Countdown and Foodstuffs say they restrict sales of zero alcohol drinks to those 18 years of old and over, and Countdown at least require ID to sell some no alcohol products.

This is ridiculous. Supermarkets should make it as easy as possible to buy alcohol-alternative drinks.

Common sense seems to have been hijacked by supermarket stupidity and bureaucracy.

Stuff reported Customers fuming as supermarkets demand age ID to sell zero alcohol beer:

It looks like beer, it’s brewed like beer, but it has no alcohol – so should you need ID to buy it?

Auckland resident Ben Roberts doesn’t think so, and was annoyed when  he and his wife were denied by Countdown Lynfield.

Roberts, 22, had ID but his wife Sarah, 31, did not and the couple were told that although DB Export Citrus was alcohol-free, it was still treated as an alcoholic beverage.

The product has zero per cent alcohol but the packaging is similar to that of normal DB Export beer, and the supermarket displays it next to the usual beer range.

Countdown sell it alongside alcoholic drinks and therefore have included it in the alcoholic drink category so require ID to sell it if they are unsure whether a purchaser is old enough to buy alcohol.

This is stupid.

Bundaberg citrus and fruit drinks are brewed, but they are on soft drink shelves so I presume can be purchased without ID.

A number of brewed no alcohol ginger beers are also sold as soft drinks, presumably to people who are under 18 or don’t have ID. They are also sold as soft drinks.

Ginger beer with alcohol is sold in the alcoholic section of the supermarket so should be age restricted.

But applying age restrictions just because a supermarket decides to stock them alongside alcoholic drinks seems ridiculous.

Countdown spokesman James Walker said zero per cent alcohol was a substitute for alcohol and the company’s policy was to treat it as such.

“These products are a fast-growing category, as our 18+ customers look for low or no-alcohol alternatives.

“It’s Countdown’s policy that zero per cent and low products should be treated like the rest of our beer and wine products and sold responsibly.”

Foodstuffs New Zealand, which owns the Pak ‘n Save and New World brands, also confirmed  it would not sell the product to customers under 18.


DB senior communications adviser Simon Smith said Export Citrus zero per cent was designed for, and targeted at, legal drinkers.

“As such, we support retail partners who require ID from customers to prove the purchaser is over 18 if they believe that is appropriate.”

It sounds like DB wants Export Citrus sold alongside beers and ciders so has to go along with supermarket categorisation regarding ID requirements.

Last month brewers voiced their concern that under current legislation, beer with alcohol levels of 1.15 per cent must be kept separate from more potent drinks, which have to be displayed within a designated area.

That contradicts what the supermarkets are doing.

But supermarkets were also reluctant to display no-alcohol beers next to soft drinks and juice, because of the packaging.

That doesn’t make sense.

Justice Minister Amy Adams admitted there was a problem, and announced the  regulations would soon be amended.

“It doesn’t make sense that supermarkets technically cannot place these non-alcoholic products alongside alcohol when we’re trying to promote responsible drinking.

“It’s also irritating for supermarkets and confusing for customers.”

It certainly seems confusing and irritating for customers, but why the hell are regulation changes required?

Common sense has been hijacked by bureaucracy.

Leave a comment


  1. Timoti

     /  11th January 2016

    It makes complete sense,Pete. You are obviously having a bad morning and forgotten its 2016,,,,, idiocy still trumps common sense. Its a nice drop by the way.

    • I haven’t tried it yet. I probably will but resist reacting to dumbed-down advertising. Why does DB promote it as a sort of pretend beer? Is there a market for people who can’t just drink non-alcoholic beverages without needing to pretend they are pissing up?

      • Timoti

         /  11th January 2016

        I must confess I only tasted one because I was given a bottle by someone who was a sober driver for the night.

        Unfortunately our booze culture, going by this example, seems to reach into the subjective realms. If you cant booze, then you must pretend you are boozing..

        I don’t care what people say, if you are not a drinker, socially you are on the back foot
        in New Zealand. You get in with a typical blokey crowd and say you dont drink, you are either a wowser, a Mormon or an egghead……but you certainly aren’t a Kiwi bloke.

        • Nelly Smickers

           /  11th January 2016

          You can add ‘Mooslim’ to that list as well now Timoti

        • Pickled Possum

           /  11th January 2016


          ” if you are not a drinker, socially you are on the back foot”

          I may have a drink once a year sometimes I can go for a couple of years without a drop passing my lips, but when I have been in a social setting with lots of DHeads around who I don’t know I fill a beer bottle with water and “pretend” to be one of them.

          It works a treat if I don’t I have people men mostly harassing me to “go on have another” or “here I brought you a double whiskey might make you frisky” or my favorite not really but it’s the one that I am the most shocked at “Drink up and have some fun.” yea right like all the rest of the dribbling spitting obnoxious drink to excess people who I try to avoid at the end of the function.

          If I am seen to be drinking I don’t get given a second look from the usual harassers and I am looked on as “one of them” for that time in space.

          Yaaa for dark beer bottles … so no one can see my water-pretend alcohol.

          This way I am not on the back foot socially … am I Timoti? 8-0

          • Timoti

             /  11th January 2016

            Try a shandy in case someone calls you out. I don’t know, I’m a drinker. Seems
            a good ploy. But really I don’t know why you bother. It would be better to walk then put up with d-heads.

            • Pickled Possum

               /  11th January 2016

              Job related functions are hard to get out of esp if” I don’t drink” is the reason. I have tried that doesn’t work.

          • Pete Brian

             /  11th January 2016

            I do the exact same thing full the beer bottle with water. I don’t like getting drunk I enjoy reality. When people say they drink to have fun what they are really saying is they aren’t happy with life so drinking alcohol is a way to escape reality and my make life bearable. It’s really sad.

      • remember Claytons’? “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”? don’t think it ever caught on as a tipple, but it gave us a new expression 🙂

  2. Brown

     /  11th January 2016

    “Common sense has been hijacked by bureaucracy.”

    Yep, many years ago now – the airheads are in charge. Keep voting for more of the same every three years.

    • DB are applying the “gateway drug” principle to alcohol maybe?

      Their TV advertising for 0.0% Citrus makes me think so.
      Cunning product and marketing strategy, questionable “social responibility”?
      Hmmm, I might lay a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority …?

      Had a few DB Citrus over Xmas.
      Not a bad drop except its not really like beer at all, more like Citrus flavoured Ginger Beer
      Drinking it made me feel manly though, for the first time in a long while.

  3. kittycatkin

     /  11th January 2016

    It may be that the barcode shows that it’s made by a brewery, and the barcode reader, of course, doesn’t register the difference between one drink and another from that source. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the reason.


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