Under the ban (enforced under the 2015 Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act [LCA]) previously, all food and beverage products containing over 0.5% of alcohol were not allowed to be sold from 10.30pm to 7pm.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has now exempted non-beverage food products from the ban, but it remains in place for alcoholic beverages. Consuming liquor in public areas is also restricted to hours outside of 10.30pm to 7am.
Certain areas within Singapore like Little India and Geylang are designated as Liquor Control Zones, which have stricter regulations that apply to them. Offences committed within these areas can carry penalties that are up to 1.5 times harsher.
In an official statement, MHA said: “MHA has completed a review, following feedback from the public and industry that certain products containing alcohol need not be regulated under the LCA, as consumers were unlikely to abuse them.”
“In consultation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, except for beverages which will continue to be regulated given the significantly higher risk of abuse, MHA will be exempting all other food products from the licensing requirements of the LCA.
“MHA and the Police will monitor the ground situation, and periodically review and update the legislation as required.”
Ice cream manufacturer Udders has responded with delight to this announcement, with a spokesman telling FoodNavigator-Asia that: “We’re very happy that the Government have engaged the industry closely and taken our feedback into consideration in their review of this law.
“We thank the government for taking a pro-business approach to this decision.”
Udders has six liqueur flavours that will be affected by this legislative change. These are: Tira-Miss-U, Wineberries, Cereal Killer, Orange Choc Bitters, Rum Rum Raisin, and Bailey’s & Bourbon.
The company declined to comment on how this would be likely to affect its ice cream sales moving forward, saying it is ‘not privy to Fairprice Finest (One of Singapore’s largest supermarkets selling Udders ice cream) sales data’.
“[That said], with this change in law, we hope sales at Fairprice Finest and especially Cheers Convenience Stores, many of which are open 24 hours, will increase,” said Udders.
The company also assured that it will ‘definitely’ be introducing more alcohol-flavoured/containing products moving forward after the lift of the ban.
Reasons for the 2015 Liquor Control Act
Singapore first announced its decision to review the LCA in November last year. The LCA was initially enforced after a fatal traffic accident in December 2013 involving a private bus and a foreign worker led to riots in Little India.
The worker “was believed to be drunk at the time and tried to board the bus which was already full,” according to the official statement of the incident on the Singapore government website.
The worker had tried to board the bus, which was already full, and was knocked down as a result. Additionally, reports said that members of the crowd also appeared drunk and had beer and liquor bottles in their hands.
Over 400 people were embroiled in the violent riot, a vehicle was set on fire, over 50 individuals were injured and over 20 vehicles damaged.