Control Over Liquor License Fees in Massachusetts

The Wellesley dining room with liquor licenseTownsman details in a recent article how much the different types of liquor licenses in Wellesley cost per year.  For example, restaurants with an all alcohol license must pay a $3600 annual fee, restaurants with a function room and all alcohol license must pay $5,000 each year, restaurants with a beer and wine license pay $2,000, clubs with an all alcohol license pay $1,400, dining halls within an educational institution pay $1,200, and hotels/inn-holders pay $5,000 annually.

In comparison, the city of Boston charges $2800 annually plus $1 for every seat to restaurants with seven day all liquor licenses.   This annual fee is charged when the license is renewed annually.

The article also noted that before 1991, the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission would set minimums and maximums on the annual fees that local towns were able to charge to the license holders.  The article gives the reason for the change as the different level of demand in each community for the licenses.

The state does retain control over the number of licenses available in each city and town, through a quota system based on the latest census population data.

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