Home » Opinion » Editorials
Beer at liquor stores? Just say no
House Bill 275, sponsored by Rep. Robert Cushing, D-Hampton, would order the Liquor Commission to engage in a two-year pilot program under which it would sell and market beer brewed in New Hampshire.
Clearing regulatory obstacles that hinder the growth of New Hampshire's young craft beer industry is a worthy goal, and other legislation has been proposed to do that. This bill, though, has too many negatives.
The bill's fiscal note states that it is likely to reduce the state's income from state liquor stores because beer has a much lower profit margin than wine or spirits. That alone ought to be enough to doom the bill. Liquor store revenue helps keep other taxes low. We should not reduce that revenue just to help one small industry.
Even if the idea were revenue-neutral, there are other considerations. Beer is a lucrative revenue source for convenience stores and grocers, particularly those in border and tourist towns. And in the last few years, specialty beer stores have popped up to cater to craft beer enthusiasts. Adding beer to state liquor stores would force these businesses to compete with the state (as some do with wine), although at an even more pronounced disadvantage.
Liquor stores can get good prices through large volume discounts (as can chain grocers), and they have a monopoly at highway rest areas. Even with wine sales at liquor stores, tourists, particularly men, might make a side trip into town to buy beer. If liquor stores sell both beer and wine, the impact on local businesses could be profound, as traveling parties could get all of their alcohol from the state without having to leave the highway.
Legislators should spike this bill and focus on other regulatory burdens that hurt small breweries.
READER COMMENTS: 1
- Manchester education standards proposal derided at public hearing - 6
- Proposed Common Core alternative will get public review tonight - 6
- New headmaster eager to take the reins at Pinkerton - 0
- SNHU, NH Institute of Art merger talk creates anxiety for some - 4
- UNH- Manchester looks to move into Pandora building - 2
- Wilton school project begins - 0
- Nashua explores taking over Brentwood School - 0
- Franklin Pierce lays off four full-time employees - 0
- New Highland-Goffe's Falls principal starts job today - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Portland takes first of two from NH Fisher Cats Saturday - 0
- Readers' Choice winners say public vote is meaningful - 0
- Amherst mini-golf course is readers' top choice - 0
- Twins Smoke Shop focuses on good cigars, happy clients - 0
- 'Backstage' NASCAR passes are fans' delight in Loudon - 0
- Motorcyclist killed, passenger injured when hit by car in Manchester accident - 0
- Bicyclist injured when hit by car in Hudson - 0
- Police hope for driving dream, but prepared for driving nightmare in Loudon - 0
- Police investigate serious accident in Manchester - 0
New Hampshire events starting on July 13
Houston hands Red Sox a loss Saturday
With the NASCAR fans, Jr.'s The Man
VA woes across the country led NH to reforms
Alewives and leeches; fireworks in the rain