Panton Hill Hotel management says it’s too risky to sell lemon, lime and bitters to minors. Picture: Tony Gough
Panton Hill Hotel management says it’s too risky to sell lemon, lime and bitters to minors. Picture: Tony Gough

Pub cops abuse over ‘ridiculous’ rule

A PUB in Victoria has taken the extraordinary step of banning kids from drinking lemon, lime and bitters.

The Panton Hill Hotel - a family-friendly country pub in Melbourne's northeast - over fears it may be penalised as tougher new alcohol rules come into effect across the state.

It means that pubs, bars and restaurants in Victoria are now banned from selling liquor to a minor for consumption on licensed premises under any circumstances.

Previously, children could consume alcohol on licensed premises while eating a meal if in the company of a parent or guardian.

The hotel's duty manager, Lynda Hunter, said that, because the bitters component of lemon, lime and bitters was alcoholic, it was "too risky" to sell the popular drink to minors.

"It is to safeguard ourselves from a penalty," she told the Herald Sun.

Panton Hill Hotel management says it’s too risky to sell lemon, lime and bitters to minors. Picture: Tony Gough
Panton Hill Hotel management says it’s too risky to sell lemon, lime and bitters to minors. Picture: Tony Gough

"The way we make it, it is no longer just a couple of drops of bitters."

However, the new rule has not gone down well with everybody and it has even prompted abuse from some customers, who said it was "ridiculous".

A Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation spokeswoman said the minor addition of bitters to a soft drink usually doesn't constitute as liquor but depended on the amount added.

Despite the backlash from Panton Hill Hotel customers, new research shows most parents support tougher restrictions on alcohol supply to underage teenagers.

VicHealth research released on Thursday shows 60 per cent of parents believed there were no circumstances where other parents of adults should supply alcohol to underage teens at parties.

VicHealth chief executive Jerril Rechter welcomed the tough new changes.

"Our research clearly shows that parents want to be in charge of when, where and how much their kids drink. We all want our kids to come home safe from parties," she told the Bendigo Advertiser.

"We want parents to understand that under the new law they are responsible for the wellbeing of teenagers if they host a party with alcoholic drinks."

Tough new Victorian state rules mean children can’t be served alcohol under any circumstances. Picture: Tony Gough
Tough new Victorian state rules mean children can’t be served alcohol under any circumstances. Picture: Tony Gough

The research shows parents were unsure about the harm from alcoholic drinks can cause their teenage children.

It also showed that they were unsure how best to introduce them to drinking - with only 37 per cent of parents understanding it was best not to supply teenagers with alcohol to protect them from harm.

The Panton Hill Hotel describes itself as one of the oldest pubs in the state with a history of fantastic food and a friendly atmosphere.

"Melbourne's favourite local country pub," its Instagram page reads.

The pub prides itself on being family friendly with a large children's playground, pony rides and has pet chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs.

More liquor licensing laws are expected to come into effect in Victoria on March 1.


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