The Law Offices of John P. Connell, P.C.:  The State of Massachusetts has approved a new “Caterer’s License,” effective starting October 31, 2012. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 138, s. 12, this Caterer’s License acts as an “on-premises” license, permitting a caterer to sell alcoholic beverages for up to five (5) hours at a private event in a municipality that has adopted this legislative authority.

The licensed caterer must maintain compliance with the regulations set forth by this new legislation. The following are several important requirements that a licensed caterer should be aware of:

1. Licensed caterers must still apply for and obtain a Transportation Permit from the ABCC for a fee of $150.00.

2. Licensed caterers cannot sell or deliver alcoholic beverages at events occurring at an already licensed premises. This includes hotels, clubs, restaurants and other establishments already possessing a liquor license.

3. Licensed caterers must purchase all inventory of alcoholic beverages from licensed wholesalers, and cannot therefore purchase alcoholic beverages from package stores.

4. Licensed caterers must be certified by a nationally recognized alcoholic beverages server training program to be permitted to serve alcoholic beverages.

5. Licensed caterers must: (a) notify the police chief and the local licensing authority (“LLA”) that the licensed caterer will be serving alcoholic beverages in the city; (b) provide a copy of the caterer’s license to the police chief and the LLA; (c) provide proof of insurance to the police chief and the LLA; (d) provide an emergency contact number for the license manager to the police chief and the LLA, all at least 48 hours prior to the licensed caterer’s private event.

Once the application for this new Caterer’s License becomes available, catering businesses will no longer face the burden of obtaining special one-day licenses for each of their events, which municipalities formerly limited in number every year to each caterer. Beginning October 31, 2012, the ABCC will issue this new annual license directly to a caterer in exchange for a fee of $1,500 upon the successful application for such license.



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