NEA clamps down on beer promoters in hawker centres

A recent article on The Straits Times has shed light on the fact that the National Environment Agency has asked breweries to cease operations of all their beer promoters. According to the article, NEA has sent out letters to hawker centres and as a result, beer promoters have not been working for nearly two weeks.

Marketing has reached out to NEA for a confirmation of the letter and queries as to why there was a ban on beer promoters.

Meanwhile, NEA told ST that beer promotion is not allowed and often promoters were not registered stall assistants. Stall assistants are also not allowed to carry out beer promotion “as such activities may give rise to disamenities, such as touting and possible harassment of patrons when promoters compete for business," said the article.

Shannen Fong, head of corporate relations, Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore also told Marketing that APB has been informed by NEA that these promoters are not allowed at hawker centres due to concern over potential touting amongst drinks stalls at hawker centres.

"We are engaging the NEA on this matter and are expecting NEA enforcement to apply to all beer brands and promoters in the market to level the playing field. We will continue to monitor the business impact of this development,"  Fong said.

She however declined to comment on how the recent ban has impacted its beer sales.

Fong added : "APB has trained our brand promoters to sell and serve alcohol responsibly. The objective of the training is to ensure that brand promoters are equipped to mitigate potential alcohol-related issues, as we recognise that they are important touch points to our consumers and are able to influence the way they consume alcohol. This furthers our commitment to building a positive ecosystem of alcohol sale and consumption in Singapore."

Meanwhile, APB will carry on its recently announced training of 580 beer promoters on how to sell alcohol responsibly. Its promoters have been trained to recognise customers who are drunk or underage and by the end of the month, all of APB's promoters will be trained through a three-hour training session called ASSET ( Alcohol Sales/Service Educational Tools ).

Marketing has also reached out to other beer brands such as Carlsberg. However, it was unable to respond at the time of writing.

Recently, the Singapore government has passed a law to ban drinking in all public places from 10.30pm to 7am. Under the law, retail outlets can no longer also sell alcohol during these period. Stricter rules have also been enforced in areas such as Little India, where in 2013 a riot broke out.

Other areas such as Geylang are also impacted and these areas known as Liquor Control Zones have an alcohol consumption ban from 7am on Saturday to 7am on Mondays.