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Why this pub is banning children from drinking popular soft drink

If you’ve ever ordered a lemon, lime and bitters for your kids at the pub, you might have to think again.

One Yarra Valley hotel says it has no choice but to ban the popular beverage for those under 18.

New laws cracking down on the supply of alcohol have caused the Panton Hill Hotel, 35km northeast of Melbourne’s CBD, to introduce the new policy.

“It’s 44.7 percent alcohol in a 200ml bottle of bitters,” the pub’s manager Lynda Hunter explained.

Lemon, lime and bitters is now off the menu for the pub. Source: 7News
Lemon, lime and bitters is now off the menu for the pub. Source: 7News

The drink traditionally includes lime cordial, lemonade and several dashes of Angostura bitters.

“When it was a couple of drops it was classed as soft drink but it’s not longer a couple of drop in a lemon lime bitters,” Ms Hunter said.

The century-old pub insists it’s simply trying to keep up with the times – a move a local naturopath supports.

“I think it’s just a positive change. Take it back to basics, children don’t drink alcohol, so just keep it really simple,” Shannon Carlin said.

The pub says it can’t run the risk of getting a hefty fine if caught serving alcohol to children. Source: 7News
The pub says it can’t run the risk of getting a hefty fine if caught serving alcohol to children. Source: 7News

The move comes down to how much bitters is mixed into the drink. Authorities say a small amount is acceptable, but it’s not clear just how much that is.

Laws have become stricter, with licensed premises no longer allowed to supply liquor to minors for consumption.

Previously, under-18s were allowed to have an alcoholic drink with a meal if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

A bottle of bitters is 44 per cent alcohol. Source: 7News
A bottle of bitters is 44 per cent alcohol. Source: 7News

And while it’s a staple drink for children and adults across the country, it appears the younger pub crowd haven’t been affected too badly.

“Well it’s a shame but I understand why and I’ll get lemonade now,” one young patron said.

Yet not everyone is as forgiving.

“I find it quite bad because it’s the only thing they like the most and it’s a bit unfair though,” one junior pub-goer said.