Exciting News for MA Hospitality Industry

Streamlined Process for Outdoor Alcohol Service

Great news for Massachusetts businesses! Governor Healey recently signed laws that positively impact restaurants, bars and venues licensed to serve alcohol.

Outdoor dining tables

One law simplifies the approval process for table service of alcohol. Consequently, on-premises licensees only require local approval to add outdoor dining with alcohol. This eliminates the State approval step, thereby allowing businesses to start serving outdoors more quickly. This streamlined process, initially introduced during the pandemic and later extended temporarily, is a significant boon for the hospitality industry.

In addition to saving time, businesses save the $200 state liquor license amendment application fee. This may seem like a small savings, but to a small business it’s impactful.

 

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) has provided a detailed advisory outlining the conditions under which this is permitted. You can find the full advisory here:  ABCC Advisory Regarding Amendments to Add Outdoor Alcoholic Beverage Table Service Areas 

Mixed Drinks to go with a carry-out Meal

Designed by Freekpik

But that’s not all! In addition to the outdoor service expansion, the Governor signed a law allowing the sale of mixed drinks to go with a meal. This practice, which gained popularity during the COVID-19 era, is now permanent. However, businesses are no longer allowed to sell 192 ounces of beer or two bottles of wine for off-premise consumption.  An existing law does allow patrons to take home a re-corked bottle of wine.

Of course, there are restrictions to this, as well. Details are in the ABCC Advisory Regarding On-Premises Licensees Permanently Selling Mixed Drinks for Off-Premises Consumption.

To-go-cocktails don’t come without controversy. The Massachusetts Package Stores Association said the policy is unfair to stores. “It’s allowing restaurants to be liquor stores and restaurants at the same time, while it is only letting the stores across the state just be stores,” said Rob Mellion, of the Massachusetts Package Stores Association as reported by Sharman Sacchetti, Political Reporter and Co-Host of WCVB’s “On The Record”

These changes are part of the Governor’s supplemental budget appropriations.  For those interested in diving deeper into the legislative changes, you can read the chapter containing the laws here

This is an exciting development for Massachusetts businesses, offering new opportunities for growth and adaptation in the evolving landscape of hospitality. Let’s get outside!

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