The Fight Over Massachusetts’ Alcoholic Beverage Franchise Laws

Massachusetts brewers descended on Beacon Hill last week to continue their almost decade-long fight to liberate their beer from the draconian franchise law holding them hostage. Pursuant to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 138 Section 25E, any brewery (or distillery or vineyard for that matter) that sells its product to a distributor for a six-month period is automatically entered into a business relationship (whether an explicit agreement exists or not) requiring the brewery to sell that particular product exclusively to that distributor, potentially for life. The inability to extricate their products from distributor relationships, particularly when the business relationship has deteriorated, has irked brewers for years. Meanwhile, Distributors suggest a change in the law would risk jobs and shutter businesses. Several bills are pending at the State House to do just that, but to fully understand the current situation it helps to have some background.

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A Legal Guide to Opening a Restaurant with an Alcoholic Beverage License

Opening a restaurant can be the fulfillment of a long-sought dream, but success does not happen by accident. It is the product of detailed planning. One must consider all legal, business, financial and operational factors to cultivate an environment for the restaurant to thrive. This guide is intended to educate prospective restaurateurs of the generic legal considerations one will encounter and equip them with the tools to provide the best opportunity for the successful launch of a restaurant with an alcoholic beverage license in Massachusetts. 

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New Law to Allow Charitable Organizations to Accept All Types of Alcoholic Beverages from Various Sources

In the waning hours of the Massachusetts Legislature’s 2015-2016 session, a bill sponsored by Representative Alice Peisch (House Bill 248) was passed that will authorize duly organized non-profit organizations within the Commonwealth to accept donations of any type of alcoholic beverages from any individual or legally operating manufacturer, wholesaler, or package store to be served at fundraising events for the benefit of the non-profit.

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Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage License Types

If you’re thinking about opening a business involving the manufacture, distribution, or sale of alcoholic beverages within Massachusetts, you will need to acquire an alcoholic beverage license from the State’s alcohol licensing agency - the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (and sometimes from the federal government and/or local licensing authority, depending on the business). Acquiring such a license can be a consuming process, taxing both time and money, but with the proper planning you can make sure it goes down as easy as your favorite after-work drink.

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'Tis the Season For Alcoholic Beverage License Renewals

If you own a restaurant, retail liquor store, brewery, or any other business with an alcoholic beverage license, you must renew this license during the month of November for the next year or risk its loss. Its a relatively easy process but errors or failure to renew can be a fatal blow to your business. Read more here and be sure to consult an experienced attorney to ensure your application is accurate and complete. 

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