The state legislature’s Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, a committee chaired by State Representative Ted Speliotis, recently proposed a modest expansion of alcohol sales in grocery stores.
The endorsed proposal, drafted by both grocery and package stores, recommended expanding, for the first time since 1933, the number of grocery stores that are able to sell alcohol.
If the compromise legislation becomes law, beginning in 2012 a retailer will be allowed to go from holding liquor licenses at up to three of its locations across the state to holding liquor licenses at up to five, according to a release from Representative Speliotis. Subsequently, the limit will go up to seven in 2016 and nine in 2020.
In 2006 when the ballot question for an increase in alcohol sales was defeated, the question was asking if every supermarket would be able to sell alcohol. According to the release, the question was defeated in every county in the Commonwealth and by an overall 56% to 44% margin statewide.
“The compromise allows for a modest increase in the number of supermarkets to sell alcohol while insuring that a vibrant package store industry will continue for the next decade,” State Rep. Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers) said in a statement. “This will mean stability for the industry and the 20,000 people working in local package stores.”
The legislation also maintains the final authority on the issuance of licenses to the local city or town licensing authority and does not increase the total number of licenses statewide.