Brighton store and hamper firm argues for more flexible licence

A luxury hamper and deli company wants to extend the range of alcoholic drinks that it sells at its Brighton shop.

The owners of Artisan Deli Market, in Duke Street, told a licensing panel that they also wanted more of the shop to be given over to drinks.

And they want to be able to serve beer and wine in the premises’ indoor café as they already can at the tables outside.

Sussex Police licensing officer Mark Thorogood said that the force was willing to work with the company on licence conditions to allow a wider range of drinks for delivery through its online hamper business.

The company wants to include cider in its hampers – and locally produced gin and rum.

But Mr Thorogood had reservations about increasing the range of drinks on sale in the Duke Street store.

He told the Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel hearing that the force was concerned that Artisan Deli Market was chipping away at the conditions attached to its licence.

Currently, it can sell only wine and craft beer from a shop display measuring no more than one metre wide and two metres tall.

Mr Thorogood said: “This is an application in a very busy part of the city in an area which already has a high number of licensed premises, be that drinking establishments, off-licences, restaurants or cafés.

“The area at times can be challenging for emergency services. Sussex Police are concerned about the impact granting this application would have on the area.”

Three licensing checks – in April, May and September this year – found breaches of conditions, including cider on sale and an alcohol display cabinet 30cm wider than it should be.

Green councillor Amy Heley asked if such breaches were common across the city.

Mr Thorogood said that there were more than 4,000 licensed businesses and it was not possible to check them all.

Artisan Deli Market director Helen Gordon told the panel that the company’s hampers were competing with big names such as Fortnum and Mason and Selfridges.

Mrs Gordon said that the display case exceeded the licensing restriction for aesthetic reasons because wines were displayed in wooden crates.

She said: “There are brilliant small artisan producers out there that create fantastic products that are designed for the sophisticated alcohol drinker.

“We want to have these, especially on the online side. It’s critical. It needs to be a fair playing field with our competitors Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason. We are inhibited at the moment.”

If the panel granted the new licence, the shop’s indoor café would offer wine and craft beer with food such as toasties and charcuterie boards from noon to 6pm.

The panel retired to make its decision which should be made public within five working days.

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