Aldi and Costco battle it out for permission to sell hugely popular item

Many supermarkets around Australia are able to sell alcohol, however Aldi and Costco are struggling to convince lawmakers that they

Many supermarkets around Australia are able to sell alcohol, however Aldi and Costco are struggling to convince lawmakers that they should be able to as well.

It’s in South Australia where the retailers are facing issues. Like in Queensland, it is very tough to get alcohol into stores, and in fact few supermarkets have a liquor section, if any.

Costco Australia managing director Patrick Noone told Fairfax Media the company was still waiting for a determination from South Australia’s liquor licensing bureau.

It further shows how complex Australia’s rules on the sale of alcohol are – there doesn’t seem to be a hard and fast rule for approval, just that it is difficult to justify the need to sell such a product.

Aldi has faced similar issues with the sale of liquor – Fairfax reports they were recently blocked from selling 95 liquor products at the new Harrisdale, WA store because the licensing department said cheap alcohol posed a risk to public health.

Despite this, Woolworths is fine to sell more than 1600 liquor products from its BWS shop at the same shopping centre.

The state’s director of liquor licensing justified this by saying, “I am of the view that, whilst it would be in the public interest to establish a liquor store within the shopping centre, it is neither necessary or desirable for two packaged liquor outlets to operate at the shopping centre.

“A large percentage of ALDI liquor products are at the lower end of the price scale (i.e. 22 wine varieties are listed at a price below $5.00 a bottle, with three priced at $2.79 and 48 per cent of wine products are priced at less than $10.00 a bottle).

“In comparing the risks associated with each application, the ALDI application poses a greater risk from a broad public health perspective.”

The 2015 Harper review into competition recommended that supermarkets should be able to sell alcohol in-store rather than in separate areas such as an attached bottle shop, however there’s been no word from the Government or the Opposition on whether that is on the cards.


It triggers an interesting debate about whether it is right to have alcohol so accessible within a supermarket, what are your thoughts?

  1. David  

    What an absurd reason given by the WA Director of Liquor Licencing. So Aldi sell 22 varieties of wine at $5 or less. Dan Murphys sell 148 at $5 or less. They sell maybe 40 at $10 or less. Dan Murphys sell 657 at $10 or less. Which is the bigger risk?

  2. stnc  

    competition is a weak reason for not wanting more than one liquor outlet ! Alcohol has been around almost forever,
    pretending that having liquor outlets of shopping centres is promoting alcohol abuse is rubbish! If that were so why permit any especially Woolworths or Coles /Liquor land which are the leading Brands of Supermarkets, more people more of a problem? Come on now people, if you ban the sale of alcohol from any other than Coles and Woolworths, why not ban other food and grocery outlets in shopping centres, then leave us with all those nail, manicure /pedicure places and what seems like masses of cookware and crockery stores! The temperance movement passed away in the last century!

  3. sue Sheahan  

    We sell it in all supermarkets in NZ and I wouldnt endorse this as there are ample bottle shops nearby. People have gotten so lazy they cant get their groceries and alcohol from separate shops now?

    • The only problem with selling alcohol in NZ supermarkets is the amount of space it takes up. They will not sell to anyone under 18 or anyone intoxicated. I don’t know how much of their profit is from the alcohol sales, but if it results in lower prices for groceries I’d be all in favour.

  4. A hall  

    The uk have had cheap alcohol for years !! It is fine! Alcoholics will get alcohol regardless sndcwhy should the supermarkets charge us more just because its in a different shop!!!!

  5. margaret potter  

    so behind the times old and behind..

    • Terryw  

      Just remember that WA is an acronym for “Wait A While” (And they certainly do)

  6. earn it  

    The states director of liquor licensing is an ass. An egotistical ass. Totally disassociated from reality. I strongly suspect that some serious corruption is afoot with the Harrisdale decision. Smacks of making a decision and then looking for a reason. Again …. WA the backward state. I will sign a petition for the reversal of the decision, even tho I dont drink much.

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