Could you refuse a man a beer after his country had just won the Rugby World Cup?
That was the quandary for Queenstown licensees after the All Blacks’ stunning victory against arch-rivals Australia last November.
Last-minute legislation allowed bars and pubs to open for games outside their normal licensing hours.
But the taps had to be turned off 30 minutes after the final whistle.
Two Queenstown premises - Graze at Lake Hayes Estate and Arrowtown’s New Orleans - failed the test and continued serving joyous punters.
Queenstown’s The World Bar didn’t even get to the final. It was ordered to stay shut after quarter-final and semi-final celebrations went too far.
Graze owner Hamish Macpherson, duty manager that morning, says: “I got over-excited, wrapped up in the moment.
“It was my cock-up. It was pretty disappointing from my perspective as we were lucky to have that legislation passed and open.”
Macpherson traded for about an extra 38 minutes beyond the terms of the extended licence. His normal licence kicked in at 8am.
Bar takings were nothing compared to what it has cost him.
“I’ve had a spotless record up until now and then bang, hit pretty hard.”
New Orleans licensee Peter Whittaker, also manager on the day, was contacted for comment but did not respond before deadline.
He told the Alcohol Regulatory Licensing Authority (ARLA) he thought he could pour drinks after 7am anyway.
But ARLA officials say trade between 7.22am and 8am was prohibited.
ARLA has suspended both premises’ on-licences for 24 hours on Sunday, May 15. The New Orleans off-licence is suspended for the same period.
Both managers’ certificates have been suspended for 28 days - Whittaker from March 31, and Macpherson from May 1.
About 100 patrons were in each bar at the time.
World Bar boss Gary Livesey was in Australia when the breaches occurred. They included trading outside licensed hours, police discovering an intoxicated person in a car who had been drinking at the bar and chairs found in front of a locked fire escape.
ARLA has suspended The World Bar’s licence for 48 hours from 7am on Tuesday, May 19.
Livesey appears not to have been sanctioned though. He’s been approached for comment but is overseas.
The ARLA report states: “All indications to the authority are that this is a responsible licensee which is making every effort to carry out its responsibilities.