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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UPDATE: REGULATING ALTERNATING PROPRIETORSHIP BREWING ARRANGEMENTS IN MASSACHUSETTS

A few weeks ago, the Massachusetts House of Representatives adopted an amendment during their budget deliberations that would have further regulated tenant brewing, otherwise known as alternating proprietorship arrangements, by adding a new "Tenant Brewing License" under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 138, Section 19G. Tenant brewing is typically when brewers without a home (a brick and mortar brewery) use an existing brewery to manufacture their beer (read more about the details here). The Massachusetts Senate offered the same amendment during their budget deliberations but did not adopt it.

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