Licensing deal bans whisky at off-licence

Shop owner Adam Pietrzak of the Bazyliszek Polish deli
Shop owner Adam Pietrzak of the Bazyliszek Polish deli
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WHISKY, Tennent’s Lager and Buckfast tonic wine are the sort of products you would expect to find on the shelves of any Scottish off-licence.

But in what is believed to be the first case of its kind a new delicatessen has been banned from selling the traditional favourites of Scots – and instead restricted to importing alcohol from Poland.

Licensing chiefs have insisted on the special condition being applied to the Bazyliszek delicatessen in Dalry Road, whose Polish owner only has provision to sell beer and vodka from his home country.

It follows the introduction of strict new rules effectively banning the granting of any new licences to tackle over-provision.

While the Evening News has already told how Tesco was forced to argue that upmarket Roseburn was so far removed from areas of deprivation that another licence should be allowed, Adam Pietrzak faced a bigger challenge securing his right to sell alcohol.

Licensing lawyer Alistair Macdonald, representing Mr Pietrzak, argued that the Dalry Road store opened six months ago and had won a loyal customer base.

Many shoppers, of which 70 per cent are Polish with the remaining 30 per cent Scottish, were only keen on buying imported beer and vodka.

Councillors initially said assurances to not stock Buckfast, cider and strong lager were not enough to convince them to grant a licence. But they said a complete ban may have wider legal implications so came to an agreement with Mr Pietrzak that he would only sell imported goods.

Mr Macdonald, of Macdonald Licensing, said: “A lot of the objections are on the basis of antisocial behaviour. We are taking out the products with an association with antisocial behaviour.

“It’s not going to be a cheap bargain booze store. In many cases Adam’s products will be 50 per cent more expensive than his competitors.”

Mr Pietrzak told the Evening News: “I’m not very upset with the conditions because I didn’t intend to sell any of those things.

“I’m only going to have alcohol in two of the shop’s units. It’s not going to have a big impact on the area – there’s not going to be an issue with kids buying cheap alcohol or anything like that.

“We’re not interested in selling cheap booze.

“Polish beers are popular now and I think they will go down well with Scottish customers too.”

Brewing and bruin

STANDING over six feet tall, he won medals for his wartime bravery and was known to unwind with a glass of beer and a crafty fag.

And Wojtek the bear, who spent 16 years at Edinburgh Zoo from 1947 until 1963, is now to be honoured by having a special brew of his favourite tipple named after him.

The tribute 5.5% ABV bottled beer, named The Soldier Bear, has been brewed by the Beartown Brewery in Congleton and is already drawing considerable interest among Edinburgh’s Polish community. The beer is available for ordering from the brewery at www.beartownbrewery.co.uk.