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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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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Legislating Liquor Laws: The Fallout

The Massachusetts Legislature put forth a number of proposals that would have significantly impacted the alcoholic beverage industry over the past legislative session, from the Governor's attempt to give municipalities authority over their own liquor license quotas, easing the laws governing distribution agreements between brewers and distributors, to further regulating alternative proprietorship arrangements. Let’s take a look at what they did and did not do:

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