Small Retailers and Package Stores Need Your Support On Question #3

In our latest Advisor Magazine, we included a campaign ad produced by the 21st Century Alcohol Retail Reform Committee outlining why you should vote yes on question #3. The video explains that locally owned package stores, independent markets and convenience stores initiated the ballot question. Not only will voting yes help save Massachusetts small retailers and package stores, but it will support consumer convenience, public safety, and tourism. 

Visit https://www.yeson3mass.com/ for more information on how you can support this campaign!

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 21.

 

Why Vote YES on Question 3

According to the 21st Century Alcohol Retail Reform Committee, voting YES on Question #3 will allow for the safe and convenient expansion of alcohol sales. Question #3 will:

1. Promote Consumer Convenience 

Progressively increase the number of allowed beer and wine licenses from 9 to 18, minus any full liquor licenses owned. The number of full liquor licenses will be set at 7.

2. Promote Public Safety

Prohibit self-checkout of alcohol and change the fine for selling to a minor applicable to gross sales rather than just for alcohol.

3. Promote Tourism

Allowing valid out-of-state IDs to be relied upon by a retailer will increase access to alcohol in a reasonable and responsible way.

There are many ways you can help promote the Vote YES campaign, including making a donation to the “21st Century Alcohol Retail Reform Committee”; adding the “Vote Yes on 3” logo to the end of your email signature, your store newsletters, and/or website (by copying & pasting the logo); placing “Vote Yes on 3” signs in your store’s window, etc.

To learn more about what you can do to support this campaign, please visit:

https://www.masspack.org/Ballot-Initiative

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 20.

 

 

Time To Spread The Work – Ballot Question Update

Saving The 3 Tier Alcohol System

A highly anticipated debate in Massachusetts is preparing to finalize a decision on November 8, 2022, after votes are made on ballot question #3.

Ballot question #3 concerns off-premise alcoholic beverage retailers and the number of licenses that an entity is allowed to hold. Voting YES will allow entities to ultimately hold eighteen beer and wine licenses, an increase from the nine currently allowed. (This increase will be gradual.) Voting YES will also decrease the number of full liquor licenses from nine to seven. Ultimately, a YES vote will help restore balance in the off-premise retail industry.

 

Voting YES on ballot question #3 will not only support consumer demand and promote equal opportunity for all retailers, but it will also help save local businesses by preventing big corporations from dominating the market. Voting YES will further assist local businesses and better public safety by prohibiting self-checkout of alcoholic beverages and establishing a fine for selling to a minor applicable to the total amount of purchases, rather than just for the alcohol purchased.

Voting YES will aid in expanding tourism and increasing the customer base in Massachusetts to allow retailers to accept out-of-state IDs, as we are currently the only state that does not force retailers to reasonably rely on valid out-of-state IDs.

Liquor License Advisor encourages you to vote YES to not only support local business but also to increase the demand for your license, as well as increase the return on your investment over time. We support our clients and business models that we’ve helped establish over the years, and it’s important to us that you are successful. Reach out to us any time with questions. We’re here for you.

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 19.

 

 

Summer Drink Trends For 2022

What’s Hot For Cooling Off In The Heat

A recent bevalcinsights.com report featuring “Drizly’s Top Predictions for Summer 2022 Sales” provides some great insight as to what consumers plan to drink this summer as temperatures – and travel – heats up. This summer, recovering retailers can capitalize on consumer preferences and their desire to experience the local flavor after being homebound for summers’ past. It’s no surprise that people generally reach for more refreshing beverages during the hot summer months; however, as beverage trends have shifted, what refreshing beverages people will reach for is the key question this summer.

According to Drizly’s report, white wine and light lagers have experienced more popularity than usual this year, which suggests that this popularity will only increase during the summer months.

Ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails continue to enjoy massive popularity, and it seems that they may replace hard seltzers as the #1 go-to for summer celebrations. One reason why RTD are gaining popularity may be because people are considering more what they are putting into their bodies, opting for more natural choices. Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights, notes that, “The RTD category continues to grow and gain awareness among consumers. Consumers are becoming more educated on what is in the drinks they are choosing – like vodka-based cocktails versus malt-based seltzers – as well as seeking new flavor innovation.”

As red wine has recently increased in popularity, especially amongst younger consumers, white wine may also increase in popularity this summer, as it has increased in shares since 2021, and wine lovers may opt for the cooler, more refreshing wine option during the summer months.

Summer vacations are also amping up this summer with restrictions lifting and people wanting to make up for lost time and delayed travel. And it seems that increasing gas prices and unpredictable air travel won’t stop them: a June 21, 2022, AAA article reports that the ultimate summer holiday – the 4th of July – will see a high volume of people hit the roads and the airlines this holiday: “AAA predicts 47.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend (June 30 – July 4)…The biggest surprise – car travel – will set a new record despite historically high gas prices with 42 million people hitting the road.”

Once vacationers reach their destinations, many will opt for local beverages, which both on and off-premise operators can capitalize on by ensuring they have plenty of local offerings in stock and strategies to market them. Many travellers will also opt for the tropical vibe, as many will travel to tropical places or will just want to embrace the laid-back lifestyle it suggests.

Drizly reports that many popular brands are offering tropical options, such as TRULY Hard Seltzer, High Noon, Corona, and even Bud is offering a Bud Light Hard Seltzer Tropical Cocktail Hour as a limited edition variety pack.

Despite high gas prices, unsettling air travel, and covid not being completely over, consumers are ready to travel and celebrate not only the 4th of July, but summer and the return of the laid-back, refreshing vibe that summer has always encompassed. ~

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 17.

 

 

More Liquor Licenses Likely Coming To Boston For On Premise Use

Home Rule Petition Coming To The City of Boston

A Home Rule Petition was filed on April 1, 2022 regarding the allocation of liquor licenses in the City of Boston, as supporters of the petition argue that there is a disproportionate distribution of liquor licenses across the city and that “the well-documented racial wealth gap in Boston shows that it is crucial for MWBE’s [Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprises] to have equitable access to liquor licenses in order to advance economic equity”.

The petition requests that 200 non-transferable licenses (meaning that if the business closes, the license would go back to the city) over a three-year period be distributed to establishments with a capacity of 50 people and under in the following neighborhoods: Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, and Hyde Park, where there is currently a lack of licenses. For example, the petition points out that out of the 1,432 liquor licenses in Boston, Mattapan holds only ten of them.

It is proposed that all liquor licenses in the City of Boston shall increase by at least 10% over a ten year period. These licenses are for on premise use only, and because they would be non-transferable, these licenses would be given back to the City of Boston if revoked or canceled, to grant an application with the same requirements.

 

WCVB5 Boston commented on the petition in an April 7 update, describing it as “a tool for addressing the city’s racial wealth gap”. Likewise, an April 17 Boston Globe article entitled, “Waiting for liquor license reform in Boston”, comments on the petition, stating that: “Reforming liquor license law isn’t ultimately about booze. It’s about economic opportunity”. The article argues that because liquor license holders tend to open establishments in wealthier parts of the city, the less wealthy neighborhoods are hurting. The article also calls out Boston’s state-imposed hard cap on restaurant liquor licenses as being “antiquated and stubborn…a vestige of a bygone time”.

On June 16th, 2022, a City Council Committee on Government Operations hearing was held regarding important matters for the City of Boston, including this home rule petition, which consists of two Dockets: Docket #0465 and #0435.

Docket #0465 is the Petition for a Special Law Regarding an Act Authorizing Additional Licenses for the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages to be Drunk on the Premises in Boston, with sponsors being Councilors Brian Worrell, Ruthzee Louijeune, and Ricardo Arroyo. Docket #0435 is the Petition for a Special Law Regarding An Act Authorizing the City of Boston to Grant Four Additional Licenses for the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages to be Drunk on the Specified Premises, with sponsors being Councilors Ruthzee Louijeune and Julia Mejia. If you were unable to attend the hearing, we’ve got you covered with an overview of the discussion to provide you with the most current updates.

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 17.

 

 

Restaurant Revitalization Ends

Restaurants Face Closing

A sobering May 19 article from the Independent Restaurant Coalition claims that at least 50% of restaurants could close after the senate does not pass funding for struggling restaurants. Sponsored by Senator Roger Wicker and Senator Ben Cardin, The Small Business COVID Relief Act hoped to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), which 90 senators voted to create last February, with $40 billion. However, in a 52 to 43 vote, the funding did not pass.

According to Erika Polmar, Executive Director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, more than half of the 177,300 restaurants waiting for this grant will close within the next few months. “Local restaurants expected help and the Senate couldn’t finish the job”, according to Polmar. The report states that at least 90,000 restaurants and bars have closed since the beginning of the pandemic, which is when the Independent Restaurant Coalition originated.

In 2021 alone, nearly 300,000 restaurants applied for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants, but nearly 200,000 didn’t receive the funding. Here are some interesting statistics from the article:

– 42% of businesses that did not receive RRF grants are in danger of filing for or have filed for bankruptcy, compared to just 20% that received RRF grants.

– 28% of businesses that did not receive RRF grants have received or are anticipating receiving an eviction notice compared to just 10% that received RRF grants.

– Restaurant and bar owners who did not receive an RRF grant are taking on more personal debt. 41% of people that did not receive RRF reported taking out new personal loans to support their businesses since February of 2020. This is only true for 19% of businesses that received an RRF grant.

– 46% of businesses reported that their operating hours were impacted for more than 10 days in December 2021.

– 58% of businesses reported that their sales decreased by more than half in December 2021. If you are a restaurant or bar owner who is looking to sell your liquor license because of the current difficult climate in this industry, give us a call. We have qualified buyers waiting and are here for you.

 

For More Liquor License articles – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 16.

 

 

20 Years In The Boston & Massachusetts Liquor License Business

What’s Next?

Twenty years is a long time to reflect back on and recall some incredible stories!

Some of the main characters who influenced my career path include Howard Deering Johnson, Donnie Wahlberg, Charlie Perkins, and of course, Dick Newcomb, my Father and original creator/owner of the Mug ‘n Muffin restaurants.

Our original family restaurant business started in 1965 in Wollaston, Massachusetts, the birthplace of one of America’s best-known restaurant chains, Howard Johnson’s (HoJo’s). My Dad’s new restaurant, named Mug ‘n Muffin, was opened in July 1965, only 1.5 years after I was born, so I was essentially born into the family business. Even as a young kid, I was involved as my Dad grew his business, which had evolved to 26 restaurants by the early 1980’s.

I grew up flipping eggs and burgers at my family’s restaurant, and before I was old enough to do that, I watched guys like Bobby Orr and other decorated Boston Bruins stop in for coffee, as one of the main restaurants was conveniently located across from the old Garden. Over the years, I watched my Dad negotiate with vendors and landlords and I now realize that I was getting a front-row seat to a real-life masterclass in influence before I was old enough to drive. I knew I wanted to be a restaurant owner and run my Dad’s business.

After I graduated college in 1986, we re-developed the concept, worked hard, and I was able to grow from two to four restaurants that I managed for the family. A lot of work and stress brought a lifestyle I didn’t want to maintain as my own family grew.

Ironically, my Dad’s restaurant was a regular host to AA groups, and I’ve been sober since March 28, 1988.

 

To see how the next 20 something years go – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 16.

 

 

More Towns Banning Nips & Miniatures In Liquor Stores

Quincy may be the latest Massachusetts town to ban the sale of nips, according to a March 31 Patriot Ledger report. Mayor Thomas Koch has expressed interest in asking the city’s licensing board to ban the sale of nips (alcoholic beverages in containers 100 milliliters or less) to control littering and waterway pollution, as well as address other problems, such as trash-lined streets, debris in storm drains and contaminating ocean water.

Koch also believes that nips make it more difficult for restaurants and other establishments to control underage drinking. Koch has reportedly given this decision time, as the pandemic has already hit many businesses hard.

Quincy would follow five other Massachusetts towns that have already banned nips: Chelsea, Mashpee, Falmouth, Wareham (to go into effect 5/11/22) and Newton (to go into effect 6/30/22).

Also interesting to note is that a Rhode Island legislator has proposed a law that would ban nips statewide.

The question is: Will some businesses be able to make up the revenue if nips and miniature bottles are removed?

 

For more articles on the liquor industry – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 15.

 

 

Wine Sales Struggle With Millennial Interest Lagging

The next time you uncork a bottle of your favorite cabernet or sauvignon blanc, ask yourself if seeing the nutritional information listed on the back changes the experience for you? Would the experience be less enjoyable because you were concentrating more on the sugar content and calories per serving than the hints of cherry in your pinot noir, or the smooth taste of your chardonnay? How important are a winery’s social and environmental convictions to you, and would knowing them affect your consumer behavior?

Current data indicates that millennials, who have a large impact on the alcohol industry, prefer having the nutritional, social, and environmental information presented to them, and they aren’t getting it from the wine industry. Wine sales and interest are both lagging the increasingly popular seltzer and ready-to-drink cocktails, and it appears that the culprits behind this shift are millennials.

A recent New York Times article reveals concern over the current state of the wine industry, and according to the article, millennials are not drinking enough wine. Baby boomers and their tendency to opt for wine has led to a healthy wine market in the past; however, as these boomers reach retirement age, they have less influence on the market because they aren’t spending as much. Millennials, on the other hand, do have much more influence on the market and have an agenda as a health-conscious, socially aware, environmentally concerned generation.

Rob McMillan, an executive vice president of Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California, and a long-time analyst of the American wine market, states that “Sales of American wine could plummet by 20% in the next decade,” and this decrease could be because the wine market has not addressed millennial concerns yet.

“It [the wine industry] has failed to recognize the changing demographics that millennials represent,” according to the article. McMillan suggests that in an effort to adapt to what millennials want, winemakers could list ingredients and nutritional information, for example, or make their social and environmental values clear.

Millennials are a generation of hard seltzer and premade cocktail fans, less often opting for the glass of wine than for their can of choice. They are not only making a stance on noting that their calories count, but they also want to know how and where these calories were made – – and wine producers haven’t offered that information yet. They also haven’t made professing their social and environmental views a priority, which apparently has not settled well with this extremely health-conscious, socially and environmentally aware generation.

Another factor contributing to the decline in wine sales amongst millennials is that wine tends to be a more expensive beverage option, whereas hard seltzers, RTD cocktails, and craft beers are less expensive, and millennials are generally more financially burdened than their parents. Millennials are entering a world where everything costs more, including their education and homes, and they will cut costs where they can.

As more “organic”, “sugar-free”, and “low and no alcohol” wines appear on the shelves, it does cause consumers to take pause and consider why these options are suddenly appearing. The future of the wine industry is yet to be determined: Will shelves will soon be lined with “healthier” wine varietals, with declarations of environmental responsibilities and social commitments plastered on their bottles? Do wine lovers want that? Does the wine-loving generation have enough of a market pull to maintain wine’s classic image?

The verdict is out, and upcoming trends and sales will tell. 

 

For more articles on the liquor industry – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 14.

 

 

DTC Wine Shipments Hit $4 Billion in US

Although pre-pandemic activity has begun to reemerge as consumers return to restaurants, bars, and wineries for their favorite glass of wine, DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) wine shipments in 2021 surpassed $4 billion for the first time in the U.S. What does this surge mean for wine sales in the on and off-premise markets?

The reason for this advance could be that although wine shipments jumped 28% in 2021, the year-on-year increase in volume was small, and the jump in shipments could be due to the surge in price per bottle – which increased a record 11.8%. However, consumers still spent their money on higher priced wines via DTC channels.

 

Andrew Adams, Wine Analytics and report editor at Wines Vines Analytics, commented, “Increases in price per bottle shipped helped balance out the decreases in volume that some regions experienced, creating an overall increase in value for the West Coast”. (Napa enjoyed an almost $400 million increase in value of DTC shipments in 2021!)

Another reason for the staggering increase could be that although eating and drinking establishments are reopening, many consumers enjoyed the convenience of DTC purchases that they discovered during the pandemic. Although the need for such a service has lessened with restaurants, bars, and wineries reopening their doors as some restrictions lifted, the service had such a positive impact that it seems to have continuous power.

 

According to beverage alcohol consultant Danny Brager, “as COVID-19’s impact on travel and tourism lessens, there is every reason to believe DTC shipments based on winery visitation and new club memberships will be strong in 2022.” Perhaps consumers will enjoy the best of both worlds.

Combining consumers’ enjoyment of DTC convenience with the enthusiasm of returning to restaurants for their favorite glass of wine must leave liquor store owners wondering, how can we position ourselves to remain relevant and indispensable in today’s market?

 

For more articles on the liquor industry – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 13.

 

 

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