City Councilor Seeks Reformation to State’s so-called Antiquated Liquor License Laws
On June 4, 2012, City Councilor Ayanna Pressley filed a Request for Hearing in the Boston City Council requesting it to examine and explore changes to the process of acquiring a Liquor License in Boston. Pressley also requested the Council to consider measures that would allow the City of Boston to acquire additional Liquor Licenses from the Massachusetts State Legislature.
Pressley argued that the current strict quota of issued Liquor Licenses in Boston is an un-economical, outdated vestige of the ancient rivalry between the traditionally Yankee dominated State Legislature and the traditionally Irish dominated City of Boston. Moreover, Pressley argued that the limited amount of current Liquor Licenses stifles cultural, entertainment and culinary opportunities for Bostonians.
Massachusetts law, under the Liquor Control Act, restricts in the form of quotas, the amount of on-premises or off-premises licenses that a city or town may issue. In Boston, local laws declare that the non-wine/malt liquor licenses shall be no more than 695, until less than 650 are active at which time the quota will be reduced to 650. Further, there is a quota of 320 licenses for wine or malt liquor only, and 250 for establishments serving both wine and malt. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 138, § 17. This regulation contributes to the high costs for purchasing a liquor license in Massachusetts.