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.


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.


Confidentiality is really important from a seller’s perspective but marketing and talking to people about a business to sell it is crucial.

It is understandable that you want it to be kept really quiet but you want everybody to know about it. The fact is that we only want the people that should know about it to know about it.

As soon as you start talking to people, confidentiality becomes a big concern. The best thing that you can do is work with your team and start to desensitize them for when they hear that the business is for sale.

Prepare the staff and explain to them that everything is for sale for a price and selling the place is an option any day if somebody showed up with the right number.

Talk to the staff about recent sales in the industry so it doesn’t come as a shock.

Priming them and hearing about it for the last month or two will desensitize them. These are just some ways to minimize the amount of trouble that comes with someone breaking confidentiality.

When you or your liquor license broker start to talk about selling your store to potential buyers, confidentiality is a valid concern.  When you file an application before the town to transfer the license it becomes public knowledge. There’s no way to avoid it!

Before the information goes public, you want to make sure you have conversations with the important people and make sure that you have had a discussion with key employees.

Most importantly, you want to have a discussion with your landlord to make sure they know what your plans are. The landlord is going be an essential part of this from the very beginning. If you are going to transfer the business to somebody else and they want to stay in that location, the landlord needs to be involved early on rather than later.

Only you know that answer as the owner. You’ve been dealing with this landlord for years, know his personality best, and know how they will react.

If you’ve been a good tenant all along and have been straightforward this shouldn’t be a problem. Once that application gets filed, everybody’s going to know about it so prepare yourself and seek advice when needed.

If you would like confidential advice we are here to guide you. We will give you some tools, tips and tricks on how to do that.

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.



The Liquor License COVID Response Program

Liquor License Advisor is pleased to announce the launch of our Liquor License COVID Response Program for Boston and area restaurants, bars and other on-premise licensed establishments. Over the past 6 months, we have been approached by many owners who were looking for specific advice about their current situation and options.

The was a common theme and questions that kept coming up and the more owners we talked to, the more we knew we had to do something more to support the Boston restaurants who have supported us all of these years.

The program allows a quick assessment by our team of liquor license professionals to help you evaluate what your potential options are and what’s next. For full details on the program, see the info below or reach out to our office at (781)319-9800 any time to schedule a private conversation about your unique situation.

You’ve worked hard and deserve the best possible outcome for you and your business – we’re here for you. Give us a call at (781)319-9800.



We pride ourselves on having all your bases covered for a great transaction in the shortest amount of time. After over 1500+ transactions we’ve learned a thing or two. We know one person is not able to provide the attention to detail and everything else that’s involved – like our Team of 8 can.

Learn more about why you should hire a team below.


Why should you want to sign an exclusive listing agreement? You are going to receive commitment from the marketplace. With our team, a seller coordinator is with you from the very beginning, all the way to the end- where we have a listing coordinator who’s job is to finalize the transaction and get it closed.

Maximize your exposure, profit, with our expertise every step of the way.



Years of building a successful business? All buyers are not created equal, and we pride ourselves in ensuring you get the maximum price for your business that the market will deliver. Having Liquor License Advisor engaged early is an investment into the rest of your life. 

We match the right buyers with the right opportunity.


Liquor License Broker Boston - How Do You Know If A Broker Is Right For You?

Boston Liquor License Broker – or any broker for that matter are not all the same!

When you are buying or selling a license or a business, there are many moving parts and it requires some skill and finesse to get the result you want. A successful transaction in the liquor industry has to be navigated by someone who meets the following criteria:

  1. they are a specialist in the liquor industry, not a generalist
  2. they are trustworthy and have integrity
  3. they have industry-specific knowledge of liquor licenses in the area
  4. they have the confidence and communications skills that will lead the process and keep all parties in check
  5. they have proven systems and processes
  6. they are surrounded by a team and complimentary experts who can get the deal done

The intricacies of a deal have to be managed in a way that keeps it moving along. We’ve found the longer a deal goes, the more likely it is to not close. We place significant priority in timing each phase of the process and know exactly how long it takes to sell a liquor store or license.

In this video, Dan Newcomb, long time liquor license advisor and liquor license expert talks about finding the right Boston liquor license broker:

At the end of the day, you want to find the best fit with someone who can see the deal through to the end and get the transaction done in the quickest time possible for the most money when selling your liquor store.

If you are looking for a Boston liquor license broker or a liquor store broker anywhere in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Florida – give us a call we’d be happy to discuss options to work with us to get you where you need to be.

To learn more about our general offerings and specialized services for attorneys, licensing coordinators, liquor store owners, franchise developers, food and beverage establishment owners, bankruptcy trustees, lenders, and more, visit our resources section or give us a call  directly at 781.319.9800

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Sell a Liquor License: Price and Value of Liquor Licenses


If you own a business that deals with the sale and distribution of alcohol, a liquor license is a valuable and often necessary asset. In some states, liquor licenses can be sold from one business entity to another depending on supply and demand. For example, if a restaurant is going out of business, that establishment’s  liquor license can be sold to qualified buyers who will use the license in accordance with the class of license, type of license, and any restrictions.


Luckily, most states allow liquor licenses to be bought and sold, but have different specifications for what is required. There are three types of liquor license transfers or sales, including person to person (or business to business), where the building and liquor license are both sold; place to place with the same business, where a business moves locations and retains the same liquor license; or a double transfer, where the location and owner both change. Your state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will have information on selling a liquor license that’s specific to your area. State laws have different categories for liquor licenses, including how the license can be used.


Sometimes, business owners opt to sell their license when they’re no longer conducting business at their property. It’s also a savvy way to turn a valuable asset into making money back, which is especially important if you’re closing down a business.


Before a buyer can purchase your license, they have to apply through the ABC in their state, similar to if they were applying for a new license. Working with a broker can match you with the right buyer.


Selling a liquor license can be an overwhelming process, but having all the information based on your geographical location and options can help make the process streamlined and simple. That’s why we’re here to help! Read below for all the details on liquor license prices, the value of a liquor license, liquor license renewal, and more logistical questions behind the sale.


Liquor License Price


The price of a liquor license varies wildly depending on a lot of factors, including what state you or your business is located in, the kind of license your business requires, and even how many liquor licenses are available in your geographic location. The average cost of a liquor license can run from several hundred dollars to several thousand, but each state has specific rules regarding the sale of alcohol, including beer and wine, that could affect pricing.

The price of a liquor license depends on supply and demand. If you purchase a liquor license from a business that is closing or going out of business, you apply with your state’s ABC as if you were applying for a new license, which may also include a liquor license transfer fee.


Value of Liquor License


Here’s the tricky thing about a liquor license: because the value of a liquor license changes as the market charges, there’s no simple, set price. It depends on the supply and demand in your state or region. For example, depending on where the market is, a liquor license could run between $75,000 and $80,000 in Pittsburgh, or between $12,000 and $400,000 in California at the same time.

In many states or regions, there is a quota on the amount of liquor licenses a city can issue based on population. If there are multiple buyers for licenses, the price will rise, but if the demand is slower, the price will drop.

Some things to keep in mind when assessing the value of your liquor license are whether it is a Class C, a Tavern, or another class or type of license, where the license is located, and whether the license is transferable to a new location. In some states, the ABC may have a list of available licenses, which can help you assess the value of your license based on the market. A liquor license broker or company can help you determine the worth of your liquor license, as well as connect you with credible buyers.


Can I Sell My Liquor License If I Owe Taxes?


While specifics depend on your state, the ABC can refuse to transfer a liquor license if the license owner is delinquent on their taxes. Alcohol beverage licenses can be refused to any person who owes delinquent state taxes, and in order to help the sale of your liquor license go smoothly, you should ensure you are up-to-date on all tax payments and in good standing.


Liquor License Renewal


Liquor licenses have to be renewed yearly, which sometimes requires a liquor license renewal fee. When buying an existing liquor license, in addition to requesting a transfer of ownership through your state’s ABC, in many cases, if the license is expiring in less than four months, the owner of the license must file the renewal application. In most cases, the owner of the liquor license will receive a notice anywhere from thirty to ninety days ahead of the liquor license’s expiration date, offering plenty of time to get your renewal application in.

While the steps of buying a liquor license are similar whether you’re purchasing a new license or an existing one, you can apply for a temporary permit that allows you to continue operation while your application is processed.

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