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Morning booze ban would cost city jobs: wine merchant

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The operator of fine wine store East End Cellars says jobs would be lost “for no reason” if the State Government implemented a blanket ban on city liquor sales before 11am.

Adelaide City Councillor Sandy Wilkinson suggested the ban last week, arguing that some liquor stores were profiting from the struggles of vulnerable people – particularly those who drink in the parklands – by selling alcohol early in the morning.

Wilkinson said he would bring a motion to Adelaide City Council in the coming weeks urging the State Government to implement a ban on liquor sales in the CBD before 11am each day.

However, East End Cellars owner Michael Andrewartha says his store has never sold cheap liquor, and that a morning ban would have a “severe impact” on his business.

“At least three staff would lose their positions, and for no reason,” he told InDaily.

“We’re a fine wine store, representing the very best of South Australia,

“It makes no sense to penalise a business like mine.

“No-one buys (cheap) drinks from us, so why do we need to close our store?

“It’s throwing a brick at an ant … it’s just crazy talk.”

Wilkinson told InDaily that “it’s not my intention to impact on that kind of business” and that he would consider changing his motion to apply only to bulk wine sales.

“It’s not people buying fine wine at East End Cellars that are causing the problem,” he said.

“An alternative solution that the minister could consider would be a restriction on selling bulk wine – i.e. casks and flagons before 11am.”

Andrewartha said East End Cellars catered to many international and interstate tourists between 9am and 11am on weekdays (East End Cellars opens after 10am on Saturday and Sunday).

“A lot of business happens between those two hours of trade,” he said.

“We run four staff up to 11 o’clock.

“This is an unthought-out proposition.”

Andrewartha said he had “morally looked after our clients in the area for 18 years by not having (cheap) products on our shelves”.

“It’s not up to me to … judge people by the way they’re dressed, and I have no idea if they are homeless or not,” he said.

Andrewartha also operates adjacent Vardon Avenue bar/restaurant Mother Vine.

Attorney-General John Rau told InDaily on Wednesday that Wilkinson’s proposal may be considered as part of the government’s impending review of liquor licensing laws.

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