Champagne at breakfast is allowed, if it’s free

While Cape Town’s liquor trading hours aims to prevent alcohol abuse, it also makes paid for champagne breakfasts illegal

Last Update February 5, 2017

While the sale of champagne or sparkling wine before 10 in the morning is not permitted throughout the entire Western Cape in terms of provincial legislation, the serving of free bubbly is perfectly acceptable.

"The existing provincial liquor law of 1989 bans the sale of alcohol before 10:00,”  says Cllr Taki Amira, chairperson of the Liquor Policy Task Team in Cape Town, “However the provision of free sparkling wine before the allotted time does not constitute an infringement of the law. Thus if one has a glass of champagne that is bought as part of a breakfast, it is in breach of the law and the supplier is operating at risk of possible prosecution."

A ‘storm in a champagne glass’ arose when the City of Cape Town approved a new by-law for liquor trading hours, which will take effect in January 2011.

"The Western Cape Liquor Act of 2009 which is being amended and is due to be passed soon, sets down generic trading hours for those local governments that do not pass their own by-law on trading hours in their area of jurisdiction," he says.

These hours are from 11am to 2am the for ‘on consumption’ premises, and from 9am to 6pm for ‘off consumption’ premises, seven days a week.

Until the new Liquor Act is promulgated, the current Act of 1989 defines the hours for ‘on consumption’ as being from 10am to 2pm - with a possible extension to 4am; and from 8am to 8pm for ‘off consumption’.

"With over 3,6 million residents from widely divergent social environments, the City of Cape Town has a responsibility to treat all citizens equally, and to help fight the scourge of alcohol abuse," says Cllr Amira.

The soon-to-be implemented provincial legislation will also provide communities and municipalities in the Western Cape with a greater say on the approval of liquor licence applications. This alignment of provincial and municipal legislation will help create a safer and healthier environment for residents in Cape Town.

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