The sales of alcohol in Britain is strictly controlled by licensing laws. These restrict where, when and by whom alcohol may be sold. In order to open a pub or wine bar the owner must obtain the approval of the local magistrates who must be satisfied that he or she is a suitable person to sell alcohol. If the application is approved the owner obtains a license to sell alcohol and becomes the licensee. The name of the licensee is displayed above the front door. If magistrates are not happy with the way a pub is being run they can cancel the license.
Many pubs are licensed to sell alcohol for drinking on or off the premises. However, most people buy alcohol for drinking at home in a supermarket or an off-license. Shops and supermarkets have to get a license, called an off-license before they can sell alcohol. Nobody under 18 is allowed to buy alcohol, either in a pub or in a shop.
Pubs are only allowed to sell alcohol during official opening hours. They are allowed to remain open all day from 11a.m. to 11p.m. though many close in the afternoon. If they wish to stay open after 11 p.m., they must obtain a speacial late license. Pubs open for a shorter time on Sundays, and in some parts of Wales they are closed altogether.
In the US, there are local laws about when and where alcohol can be sold. Some towns are dry, i.e., no alcohol can be sold there at all. In general, restaurants and bars need a license to sell beer and wine. In some states alcohol for drinking at home is sold only in special liquor stores; in other places it is sold in any food shop. There are fewer restrictions on when alcohol can be sold than there are in Britain, and bars can stay open very late. The most common restriction is that alcohol may not be sold early on Sunday mornings.
Answer the following questions.
1. What are the licensing laws for in Britain?
2. Why each pub in Britain has a person’s name displayed above the front door?
3. What do people do to run a pub?
4. What if a supermarket sells alcohol without a license?
5. In which country one can go and drink in pubs early in the morning? Why?