Could Northern Ireland's licencing laws impact BBC Good Food Show in Belfast?
Northern Ireland's alcohol licensing laws could scupper part of the plans for the BBC's Good Food Show coming to Belfast, Hospitality Ulster has claimed.
Chief Executive Colin Neill claims that income will be lost as Northern Ireland's laws state that alcohol can only be sold at off-sales, pubs or supermarkets with an off-sale element to it.
The event is coming as part of the Year of Food and Drink 2016 initiative which has a different theme for every month, and has promised to put food and drink at the heart of the visitor experience.
The event will take place from 14-16 October 2016 at the Waterfront Hall Belfast and will present some of the nation’s favourite chefs, the region’s very best producers of food, drink and artisan products and state of the art kitchenware and gadgets.
The Hairy Bikers, Great British Bake Off's Paul Hollywood, James Martin and Paul Rankin will all be there giving inspiring cookery demonstrations live on stage.
However Hospitality Ulster's Colin Neill told the BBC Stephen Nolan show that a large part of the event focuses on the sampling and then selling of craft alcohol like beers and gin - which the event will not have a licence to do so.
He said: "This is the year of food and drink and we have the BBC good food show coming in October but when you drill down into it, the BBC Good Food Show a huge part of what pays for it is the off sales from craft beer.
"But you can't do that here because it's in the Waterfront Hall.
"They cannot get a licence for them to actually sell it. There is no legal way for them to actually sell.
"They have a conference licence, you can't off-sell from a conference licence."
He continued: "Who is going to pick up the tab for the third of the income they don't get from offsales.
"Who is going to exhibit and pay £250 a square foot and say you can have a taste of this but you cant buy any?
"It's a fundamental part of the show."
"You can only buy off sales from an off sales or a pub or supermarket that has an off-sale element to it. There is no special licence, we asked at the time at MTV to create a special licence category and they wouldn't. And here we are again."
In response the BBC said they are "excited" about bringing the show to Belfast.
A spokeswoman said: "We are excited about bringing the BBC Good Food Show to Belfast and naturally we shall run the show within the licensing requirements of Northern Ireland."
Belfast Telegraph Digital