Pressure On For Boston Pocket Licenses?

The Joint Committee On Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure held its hearing on Oct. 2, 2023 for proposed Bill H.3741 and Bill S.2380 which are seeking an additional 250 licenses across 10 specific zip codes in the next 5 years, should it become law.

One of the issues that arose during the hearing around the 1:00:45 to 1:05:50 mark addressed the term “pocket” licenses, which are inactive liquor licenses being held by owners and/or landlords which go against the city’s guidelines for license use.

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 33.


Proposed Bill To Nix US Requirement To Obtain Liquor License

Will U.S. Residency Be Required?

Our Team here at Liquor License Advisor often receives the question of whether someone must be a U.S. citizen to obtain a liquor license in Massachusetts. Legally, they do: The way the law currently stands, the manager of record for a business must be a U.S. citizen to obtain a liquor license, which means that a non-citizen cannot be listed as the manager of record if he or she requires a liquor license for his or her business. Here in Massachusetts, the license owner must actually be a state resident as well to go on record as a manager or owner of a liquor license.

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 31.


Boston Liquor License Sticker Shock?

The newly established View Boston’s restaurant and lounge just paid $600,000 for their full liquor license, a price tag that has turned some heads. It seems that the price of full liquor licenses in Boston is currently at an all-time high, with the city’s restaurant and bar scene looking much different post-pandemic, as many establishments closed their doors. However, many new restaurants and bars have begun to open their doors, although who exactly is able to open these doors is resulting in some controversy.

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 29.


Year In Review & Alcohol Predictions For 2023

We had a question and answer session with Dan Newcomb of Liquor License Advisor about the year that’s past and what’s to come for the liquor license industry in 2023.

What was the most common question you got from liquor store owners in 2022? What about restaurant owners?

Over the course of 2022, the most common question that has been a theme amongst liquor store owners is how to maximize the sale price of their store, having sales trending downward since the pandemic. Potential buyers have been requesting 2022 sales because they feel like they reflect earnings before COVID. Since the pandemic, owners have been trying to rejuvenate their business model to stay competitive, and now, with the challenging economy, owners are once again feeling the sense of unsettlement that they had hoped was over. Our team has the knowledge and understanding of the industry, especially during these times, to ensure our clients receive the maximum return on their investment. From start to finish, we help our clients with financial positioning, identifying key team members (attorneys, accountants, etc.), marketing, finding the right buyer, and closing out the sale.

To read the full article – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 22.


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 for more information on how you can support this campaign!

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


Restaurant’s Pandemic Adjustments

What’s Here To Stay For The Industry

An article posted in early July on 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.



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.



Doubling Liquor License Allotment In Massachusetts

A 2022 ballot proposal seeks to change the liquor license industry as we know it – but in a staggered, controlled fashion. Although there are a few components to the proposal, the most impactful portion of the ballot question proposes to increase the number of licenses available to retailers from the current allotted nine to 18. This proposal comes on the heels of Cumberland Farms unsuccessfully pursuing an unlimited number of beer and wine licenses for food and convenience stores, which created quite the buzz in the liquor license world. Although similar in nature, this new proposal requests additional, not unlimited, liquor licenses, which may lead to a warmer reception than the one the Cumberland Farms proposal met, as this proposed increase is gradual in nature.   Currently, each corporate entity or individual is limited to a maximum of nine total alcohol licenses, including both wine & malt licenses and all-alcoholic beverage licenses.  All nine of these licenses can be all-alcoholic licenses as of now, a ratio that would change under the proposed plan.

This proposal offers a staggering increase of this allotment, which would be laid out like so, according to a recent State House News Service report:

-Increase to 12 licenses in 2023

-Increase to 15 licenses in 2027

-Increase to 18 licenses in 2031

It is important to note that all-alcoholic beverage licenses would be capped at seven, and the remainder of the licenses would have to be used for wine & malt.

However, any licensee who currently holds nine all-alcoholic beverage licenses would be grandfathered in and allowed to keep all nine all-alcoholic licenses.

Mass Pack Executive Director Robert Mellion describes the proposal as an “olive branch to food and convenience stores who previously sought to uncork an unlimited number of beer and wine licenses”, according to State House News Service. Mellion is also quoted as saying that the proposal “is intended to end some of the constant disruptions in alcohol retail that has been going on since 2006”, in a Boston Business Journal article entitled “Six Proposed 2022 ballot initiatives for businesses to watch”.

Cumberland Farms surprisingly did not file a ballot proposal related to alcohol sales, as expected, and this increase from nine to 18 licenses serves as a compromise between Cumberland Farm’s former proposal and what is currently allowed. The State House News Service article elaborates on the notion of compromise by quoting Mellion as saying that, “because many shoppers want to purchase beer or wine alongside their groceries and because package stores rely on spirits to drive much of their business, the language could serve as a compromise that offers benefits to both camps.”

The ballot question contains a few other components as well, such as banning alcohol sales at self-checkout stations; allowing liquor stores to accept out of state IDs and allowing these IDs to be “reasonable defense” against allegations of selling to a minor; and mandating fines based upon a store’s gross sales, rather than alcohol sales alone, if a store is found selling alcohol to a minor.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, the liquor license industry is changing, and the Cumberland Farms proposal and this subsequent 2022 ballot proposal are paving the way for this change that some owners don’t want to stick around to see how it ends.


For similar articles, read The Advisor Magazine by Liquor License Advisor – Issue #7

Industry Spotlight: Ben Jerrom Advises Buyers How To Get The Upper Hand

Ben Jerrom, Liquor License Advisor Partner & Buyer Specialist

In April of 2018, Liquor License Advisor welcomed Ben Jerrom as a Partner and Buyer Specialist.

Jerrom learned to navigate legalese and politics early in his career after interning at the Massachusetts State Senate, working for a local Boston attorney, doing some liquor license lobbying and working in New York City at Baker & McKenzie LLP.

Jerrom admits those experiences have helped him transition nicely into the liquor license and liquor store industry as he has mastered how to communicate effectively with very high-powered, high-operating professionals.

At Liquor License Advisor, Jerrom works closely matching Buyers with stores and licenses that suit their capacity – he gives them the greatest chance of success by working closely throughout the deal with all key stakeholders involved.


Here’s the Q&A with our own Client Concierge, Michelle Hansford, who took to interviewing Jerrom.

Where do you spend your time outside of the office?

I love the outdoors in all sorts of different ways. It’s not limited to the mountains, or flatlands, or the ocean. I love doing outdoor activities. I try to get my dog off-leash somewhere at least every other day. I go out on my boat, both with my wife and alone, and I love to hike and camp and go fishing. I do love video games, as a typical millennial boy, and I like to read a lot of news, as political stuff is what I went to school for and I do enjoy educating myself on it a lot.


What’s your favourite part of a transaction for a buyer deal?

My favourite part is when a buyer is clear about what he wants and the pre-offer phase. There’s this dopamine rush when you know you have someone really close and they’re excited about a store and there’s all of this opportunity rushing in– and none of the hurdles have gotten in the way yet. Being able to guide them and make them comfortable for the rest of the way is definitely my favourite part.


Would you say that you have a process that you guide buyers through?

Yeah, usually the buyer finds a store through Biz Buy Sell, our website, or an email blast, so step one is calling me. Step two is receiving the basic level information about the store and them checking out the store. Step three is the most crucial stage which is getting them enough information for them to feel comfortable enough to make an offer. You don’t want to flood them with too much information during that first call; you want a certain level of excitement and emotional investment so there’s positive buildup before you get into the nitty gritty of everything.


What’s your advice for prepping buyers?

I think this question has to do with the level of experience a buyer has. A first or second time buyer should have all of their finances in order, number one, and number two is to trust the advice of your advisor, especially if you’re working with us. A good example is when we’re working with attorneys. I refer someone to an attorney because I think that attorney will be ideal at getting that transaction from offer to close as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Liquor stores and licenses is all I do, so trusting us along the way is the best thing you can do. As far as other preparation goes, know ahead of time what’s important to you. Think about storage space, parking needs, neighborhood preference, what type of store do you want, and if you are prepared for the amount of time that you will have to spend there? Do you have someone in your family that you can partner with who will help guide you along? I would rather know your questions ahead of time.


You’ve worked with different experience levels, backgrounds, and cultures. Can you give some insight?

We have experience of working with people of all different backgrounds, thankfully. It’s interesting because sometimes it’s a bit of a study in anthropology because you get to see what’s consistently important to people of different cultures. What the business community is like in the culture where they came from a lot of times reflects how they do business here and how they want to be marketed to. I definitely think that there’s a changing demographic.


When you’re working with a buyer for the first time, what’s the biggest priority in advising them and building a relationship?

Number one, find out what’s important to them, and number two, be honest with them. You don’t want to paint everything in a negative light, but you don’t want to lie to them. I have inquiries come in every day – there’s no shortage of buyers. The buyers I have the best relationships with are the ones I have been the most straightforward with. Honesty is definitely the best policy.


How do you match buyers with stores?

If you’re new to the market, a huge store with a lot of cash flow, commercial tenants, and a big price tag isn’t going to be the right opportunity for you. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and be honest with what your capacity is. If you need to surround yourself with people who have the experience, do that.


Are there hot markets that are doing really well right now?

At the beginning of the pandemic, stores that operate 30-45 minutes outside of Boston were very attractive to people because they have people who commute in and out, are middle-class, and are very desirable – and who wouldn’t want a store in a nice neighborhood. With working from home continuing for some, this has tipped the scale a bit – I don’t know if there’s a market that doesn’t have people going after it right now.

Delivery companies are by far the hottest market sector we’re seeing right now because they don’t have to deal with the same constraints of the competition like walk-in stores do. It makes no difference to them if there’s a walk-in store down the street. They are making a change in the industry and are accomplishing what most cannot. The pandemic has certainly accelerated that.


Do you have a big win or favourite story so far?

Yes, I do. My friend Ike was a first-time liquor store owner. He is a Nigerian immigrant trying to build a life and is a very fair and honest guy. He was someone from the start who I was honest about how he could get the deal done and what he was capable of, and where we could be lenient and where we had to be firm. I got him a decent volume store, and he’s on his way to building his business. I was originally reluctant to tell him about this store because I wasn’t, at the time, confident that he’d be able to close something like that, but it’s a great example of building a relationship with someone and a great story of putting trust in one another. Thanks to an attorney who did a great job, and his trusting that the people he was working with were the best, led him to something he really wanted.



Questions about buying? Contact Ben Jerrom directly for further details on all of our current listings.

Ben Jerrom

Partner & Buyer Specialist

Cell: 413.544.4960

If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love our monthly publication, The Advisor Magazine – click to view more articles like this in The Advisor Magazine – Issue #6.


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