Is Beacon Hill too involved with regulating liquor licenses?

This article, which ran on a recent Sunday Boston Globe front page, nicely describes the current frustrations felt by many restaurant and bar owners whose business are outside of Boston or Cambridge.

Beacon Hill regulates the number of licenses that cities and towns may issue, based upon the population of that municipality. For example, all-alcohol licenses (as opposed to just beer and wine) are limited to one license for every 1,000 residents for communities with populations of 25,000 or less. Towns with more than 25,000 people can issue one license for every 1,000 residents, plus an additional license for every 10,000 residents over 25,000. Opponents of this bureaucratic regime say that bars and restaurants serving alcohol are widely seen as quality-of-life boosters, and that towns and cities should be able to decide how many licenses their town/city can support.

Also, the state “ABCC” (the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission), already oversees liquor license applications. Once a city or town’s licensing board OK’s a license, the ABCC does its own investigation before signing off on the local board’s approval. The commission provides sufficient oversight; separate legislative intervention and supervision seems unnecessary.

If you have questions about applying for an alcoholic beverage license, or buying or selling one, or about liquor law in general, please call Fogelman & Fogelman LLC (Matthew Fogelman in Massachusetts or Leonard Fogelman in New York).

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