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Market Watch: Massachusetts Beverage Alcohol Retailers Battle Deregulation Legislation

November 1, 2021

Massachusetts package stores are trying to fend off a growing number of bills aimed at increasing the number of licenses, boosting direct-to-consumer sales, expanding discount programs, and allowing retailers to be open on Thanksgiving. “I am now fighting off 184 bills, and another one got added today,” says Rob Mellion, vice chairman of government affairs at American Beverage Licensees and president of the Massachusetts Package Store Association (MPSA). “All 184 bills are directed at usurping retail.”

Covid emergency measures and the landmark U.S. Supreme Court retail wine case in Tennessee are two main contributing factors to legislative activity in Massachusetts. “The 2019 Tennessee case allowing non-residents to obtain retail liquor licenses was a catalyst for opportunity, and Covid presented an opportunity to introduce direct-to-consumer shipment measures,” Mellion says. “The view is that the Supreme Court opened the door for wine producers to be able to sell at retail in competition with liquor stores. I get it but don’t be upset if the local retailer wants to become a producer and introduce their own label.” Market Watch has the full story.—Kevin Barry

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