The Advisor Magazine: Issue #21 –

As the November 8th election approaches this week, the division on the issue of retail distribution grows.
Tell everyone you know to support local and independent operators by voting YES on Question 3.
  • The ‘Milestone Moment’ for the liquor industry;
    • How to support the unsung heroes of the service industry;
    • What to stock your shelves with for the holidays;
    • Employee Retention Tax Credit Fast Program for owners;
    • and more!
In this issue, we push the hot buttons of today’s liquor industry.
Click Here To Read The Advisor – Issue #21.

The Advisor Magazine: Issue #20 –

About a month to go before the historic vote on question #3 for the liquor license industry – vote YES. Tell your friends and family to support local and independent operators.

  • Why vote “YES” on Question #3;
  • How to support your local liquor store & spread awareness;
  • “Nipping” litter in the bud;
  • Fall drink choices;
  • On-Premise holds strong despite inflation;
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit Fast Program for owners;
  • and more!
In this issue, we discuss the future of the industry.
Click Here To Read The Advisor – Issue #20.

The Advisor Magazine: Issue #19 –

Holding on to Summer and preserving the 3 tier alcohol system. Not sure what the opposition was expecting but The 21st Century Alcohol Reform Bill is going strong.

In Issue #19 of The Advisor we discuss:
  • How to support saving the 3 Tier Alcohol System;
  • Boomer’s influence and buying power;
  • Wine made even more convenient;
  • Return of Happy Hour;
  • Understanding a commercial lease;
  • and more!
In this issue, we take a look at the direction the industry is heading nearing the final quarter of the year.
Click Here To Read The Advisor – Issue #19.

Restaurant’s Pandemic Adjustments

What’s Here To Stay For The Industry

An article posted in early July on rebusinessonline.com entitled “Retail, Restaurant Industries Embrace Post-Pandemic Design Shifts” addresses the post-pandemic shifts in consumer behavior, as the ease of ordering online with multiple pickup and/or delivery options has become the norm over the past few years. Although the pandemic is behind us, the behaviors consumers adopted are not, and consumer behaviors and expectations when it comes to shopping, dining, and drinking have changed, and businesses are paying attention. Let’s take a closer look at how restaurants are adapting.

The article identifies Border Foods, one of the largest privately held Taco Bell franchises in America, as one restaurant that has worked to create a new restaurant concept designed around the established fast-food model – but an elevated experience, with two-stories and four drive-thru lanes. Josh Hanson, founder and CEO at Vertical Works and WORKSHOP (the company behind the Border Foods redesign), states that their goal was to offer a “highly personalized customer experience” and that “the pandemic accelerated this expectation, as retailers were forced to connect with consumers in new ways.”

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 18.

 

 

Time For Nine

Grandfathering Off Premise Licenses

November 8, 2022 is a date that all liquor store owners should have circled on their calendar as a lot rides on the outcome of a proposed ballot question for 21st Century Alcohol Reform bill.

Most recently, more than 19,000 signatures from the public were filed in support of the reform, which over time would gradually increase the current number of licenses available to a single retailer from 9 to 18 by 2031.

Why is the number 9 so important?

As previously mentioned in Retail Tier Reform: Looming 21st Century Alcohol Changes in Issue #17 of The Advisor, the license cap for the sale of all alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, and liquor under the same license) would be reduced from 9 to 7. Retailers will be allowed more licenses overall; however, the cap for all alcoholic licenses will be lower.

For retailers who are currently near or wanting to capture the 9 license limit, they will have to pick up licenses quickly and start now.

With the cap increasing and the quota remaining the same, simple economics of supply and demand suggest that anyone who has a controlling interest in multiple stores, specifically those with all alcoholic licenses will greatly benefit.

For successful retail owners with great ambitions of increasing their capacity, this is not a time to “wait and see”. Your climb to nine licenses has to start now while there’s still time to get them under agreement.

Waiting around on the sidelines to see what happens won’t work and in fact will be too late. If you need a plan, we’re here for you. Call us any time at 781-319-9800.

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 18.

 

 

Saving Mom & Pop Shops

Vote YES To Question 3 on November 8, 2022

On Friday, July 15, the Mass Pack Association announced to its membership that the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth has confirmed that the Association’s ballot initiative petition (the “Expanded Availability of Licenses for the Sale of Alcohol Beverages”) will appear on the ballot as Question #3 this November. The announcement proclaimed, “Not since the repeal of Prohibition has an issue of this importance within our industry been put to voters. This is historic.”

The announcement, put forth by Ryan Maloney, President of MassPack and owner of Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, MA; and Benjamin Weiner, Chair of the 21st Century Alcohol Retail Reform Committee and owner of Sav-Mor Spirits in Somerville, MA, comes after a year-long process that involved signature campaigns and the tireless efforts of the Mass Pack Association to bring awareness to their membership and to the general public.

The announcement breaks down just exactly what a YES vote in November entails:

A July 7 ballotpedia.org article entitled “Two Massachusetts ballot initiatives filed a second round of signatures for a spot on the November ballot” explains the somewhat convoluted process of a ballot initiative becoming a question on the ballot, stating that: “The process for initiating state statues in Massachusetts is indirect, which means the legislature has a chance to approve initiatives with successful petitions directly without the measure going to the voters” and that “[the initiative] submitted the required 3% of signatures in December 2021 and were presented to the state legislature in early 2022. Since the state legislature did not act on the initiatives by May 4, the initiatives were cleared to gather a second round of 13,374 signatures to qualify for the November ballot.”

The Daily News reported on July 9 (and then updated the report on July 13) that “[the proposal] to expand retail beer and wine sales…cleared a final hurdle to the November ballot,” which is positive reinforcement to local liquor stores who believe that small business in Massachusetts is under attack and that they are fighting for their survival by undertaking the ballot initiative, which has now become a reality as Question #3 on November’s ballot.

Support local liquor store businesses by making A YES vote on Question #3 in November!

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 18.

 

 

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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