Soy sauce now only from a bottlo




Like cooking with soy sauce?


You might soon be able to buy it only after 2pm, in a bottle shop, and after showing your licence and having been checked against the Banned Drinker Register, and if you’re under 18 you will have broken the law.


Yes, soy sauce contains alcohol, around 2%, and as a product containing “above 1.15% ethyl alcohol by volume and is sold in a container over 50ml by volume” it’s become the latest target of our booze controllers.


A letter dated July 4 and signed by Sally Ozolins, Acting Director-General of Licensing (the same person who signed off on the appointment of an external manager of the National Road Transport Hall of Fame) says “any product” fitting that description “must only be sold or offered for sale with the authority of a liquor licence”.


A shopkeeper wonders whether that will also include hand sanitisers, nail polish remover, certain chocolates, cooking wine, plum wine, sake and almost certainly other products.


Letters have gone out to traders although according to one, the Liquor Act, due to be amended in October, will create exceptions.


So what’s the rush with this letter? What will be exempt? Are the regulations in force now?


When they tell us we’ll tell you.


UPDATE 4.10pm Tuesday July 30
The Department of the Attorney-General and Justice provided the following statement:
The Acting Director General of Licensing has recently contacted stakeholders to remind them of their obligations regarding the sale of products under the Liquor Act.
The Liquor Bill that is currently before Parliament creates a mechanism for the exemption of non-beverage type products so that they will not be subject to the Liquor Act going forward.
The Bill is scheduled to commence on 1 October 2019.
Licensing NT are preparing for the implementation of the Bill when it passes, and this is their main priority.
UPDATE 6.25am August 2: The Department of the Attorney-General and Justice has announced a backflip late yesterday:–
Licensing NT provided advice to retailers in early July about the sale of products containing alcohol.
Clarification was provided today to Retail Drinks Australia and to recipients of the original letter that sauces and marinades can still be sold next to other grocery items.
Nail polish remover and other similar non-consumable products do not fall within the operation of the Liquor Act and cough syrup and other medicinal liquids which may contain alcohol are also outside the scope of the Act.
Retail Drinks Australia is contacting its members to confirm the position.


  1. This government has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous! No wonder they have so little support.
    If they can spend money organising sauce to be sold at bottle shops and making people hand over their ID to purchasing it, they are bigger fools than we all knew they were.

  2. I am rather puzzled. Where do I get my soy sauce from now on, at liquor shops, or Chinese restaurant where the bottles are on the table, or with Japanese sushi, or on line.
    Surely this is a joke in July (not even April)!

  3. This is clearly a oversight and not an attempt for the Australian government to take down big soy. Relax people.
    And to anyone that thinking drinking soy sauce to get drunk, don’t.
    You will literally die before you could drink enough to be tipsy. 50g of salt is lethal and soy sauce is 25% salt.

  4. I wonder where a reformed alcoholic now a teetotaler who does not want to go to bottle shops to avoid temptations will go to buy soy sauce, hairspray, mouthwash, vanilla essence and any products containing alcohol?
    What is farcical is that at 16 you have reached the age of consent but you cannot put soy sauce in your dishes.
    To laugh or to cry, this is the question?

  5. Fantastic news! This could prove the first win for our Liquor Commission. We can all sleep soundly knowing that no one intoxicated by soy sauce will be invading our homes and running amok.

  6. Cooking wine is far worse than soy sauce. Actually not really, but still has a slightly higher alcohol content than soy sauce. This is absolutely ridiculous. A lot of bureaucracy just to stop soy sauce with a 2% content.
    The soy sauce will only make you thirsty for something less salty. The same goes for cooking wine. Drinking cooking wine will most likely just make you want to throw up.
    What is next? All restaurants selling food with soy sauce or cooking wine must have liquor licenses? This is madness. Only in the NT.

  7. What freakin’ idiots. It’s SOY SAUCE! Kids eat soy sauce.
    Those idiots in charge should be ousted immediately.
    I hope they will all get run over by a roo.

  8. This appears to be an administrative dog’s breakfast. The existing legislation makes it clear that it applies to beverages, and there is no conceivable basis on which Soy Sauce can be considered a beverage.
    The NEW, not yet in force, legislation widens the definition of liquor to include anything containing more than a certain proportion of alcohol. It provides an exemption for small quantities. It rather looks as if the officials have jumped the gun in telling people they need to get a licence when the legislation is not yet in force.
    The new legislation does also give the executive government the power to make regulations exempting substances in certain situations, and presumably, Soy Sauce will be one of those.
    Quite why it was necessary to make this process so disruptive is anyone’s guess. I think some people in government just like throwing their weight around.
    The new legislation even seeks to regulate alcohol mixed with gases, and says that determining the volume of alcohol must be done at the highest temperature at which the gas is a liquid. The fact that that’s a function of pressure seems to have been overlooked.

  9. If there is solid 100% evidence to support that soy sauce is being abused as an alcoholic substance then this could makes sense.
    However, I have never EVER heard of ANYONE drinking straight soy sauce for the alcohol content.

  10. What is this Territory coming to? Do all stores that do not have a liquor licence now have to apply for one?
    Talk about nanny state.

  11. I am glad this has all been resolved. It seems the new commissioner was just a bit over zealous.
    My initial thoughts were first the BDR, then this, talk about Kikkoman when he’s down!

  12. No wonder we have become the laughing stock of the WORLD – yes, sack who ever came up with this STUPID idea. The intelligence level is zero. Why is commonsense not used anymore?


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