Proposal Would Lift State’s Cap on Liquor Licenses

Proponents say lifting the cap could help stimulate the economy by removing potential barriers for new restaurants.

Massachusetts communities may soon have complete control over liquor licenses.

A new Senate economic development bill would lift the cap on liquor licenses that is currently based on the population of a community. Proponents on lifting the cap say that current law restricts communities that are small in size, but have an active restaurant scene. 

Communities now have to send home rule petitions to the Legislature for additional liquor licenses. Sending it to the Legislature requires hearings and procedural red tape.  

Gov. Deval Patrick supports removing the cap. The House created its own economic development bill that did not include the liquor license cap removal.

The Senate may vote on the bill as soon as Tuesday.


Janet C M June 30, 2014 at 08:18 AM
Ron, I totally understand your rationale, however, with more places that serve/sell alcohol, there needs to be more oversight. Now the stores/servers are required to know the laws/limits, and must comply. By deregulating the availability, you're going back 80 years where there was a bar room on every corner. There were also massive problems with drunk driving, underage drinking, etc. I just can't see it happening.
Nick Low June 30, 2014 at 02:24 PM
The license restrictions have always seemed like some sort of shakedown designed to favor certain townies or ethnic groups over others. The number of drinkers is finite. A lot of cities (Chicago for one) have barrooms on lots of corners and they do just fine.
Janet C M June 30, 2014 at 03:07 PM
No more licenses would stimulate the economy by cutting all the red tape. But looking at the volume of restaurants going under (including now the Sea Dog) in Woburn alone, one would think that there's an over saturation of establishments.
Rob C June 30, 2014 at 03:28 PM
some places do have too many restaurants, some places not enough. Having been to Sea Dog I am not sure how it lasted as long as it did. The beer was nothing spectacular and the food was mediocre.
Gretchen Robinson June 30, 2014 at 05:28 PM
we need more drinking establishment about as much as we need casinos in Mass. Meaning not at all. The argument that it increases jobs is bogus.


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