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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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