Guidance for on-line retailers of alcohol

RASG has been at the forefront of responsible retailing of alcohol in the UK since its formation over 15 years ago. It has produced extensive guidance for UK retailers that seeks to promote good practice by retailers, as well as collaborative working with regulators and government to ensure that alcohol is sold responsibly.

On-line sales of alcohol in the UK are governed by the same rules as face-to-face sales of alcohol. In 2019 membership of RASG was extended to include specialist alcohol on-line retailers. On-line sales and home delivery are a significant feature of the UK market, offering consumers convenience and choice about when and where they receive their goods. The UK on-line sales market is mature and has expanded rapidly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Determining someone’s age is easier when the sale takes place face to face rather than remotely. RASG members employ a combination of actions at key customer “touch points”, which have developed over time and which are specific to the UK retail market. RASG has developed free guidance to support online alcohol retailers to build best practice within their own organisation and to help them remain compliant when selling online – no matter their business model, size or their resources.

You can view the full guidance here.

As ever this guidance will evolve as best practices change and technology allows online retailers to be more agile in their approach.

In May 2021 a global partnership of the 12 leading beer, wine, and spirits companies that form the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) and 14 prominent global and regional online retailers, and e-commerce and delivery platforms published global standards for the online sale and delivery of alcohol beverages. This international initiative is focused on supporting consumers’ increasing demands for greater convenience with enhanced standards of responsibility to prevent sale to those underage and to reduce harmful drinking. You can view IARD’s global standards here: