Nine Liquor Stores to Appeal License Commission’s ‘nip’ Ban

October 24, 2018
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Nine Chelsea liquor stores have hired an attorney and filed an appeal with the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) regarding last May’s ‘nip’ ban of small alcoholic beverage bottles (100 mL or less), a policy that was renewed at a recent meeting in September.

Attorney Louis Cassis has filed an appeal with the ABCC on behalf of Chelsea Liquors, Inc. (Heller’s); 180 Broadway Liquor Inc. (Chelsea Liquor Mart); Pamukhan Corp. (Bridge Liquors); Canadian Liquors, Inc. (Broadway Variety 2); Finemart, Inc.; KB Corp. (Yogi’s); Nilam, Inc. (Caribbean Liquors); SAR Convenience, Inc. (Shop N Go); and Banwait Liquors, Inc. (One Stop).

The policy was enacted after several hearings last spring aimed at reducing litter and preventing vagrancy in areas around liquor stores. Many in the public and the Commission felt that the small liquor bottles were an enabling factor to the litter and the vagrancy.

Another provision in the policy was they could not sell any alcohol product under $3.

Attorney Cassis said his clients felt the change altered their licenses in a way that made their businesses suffer.

“The Board’s action in prohibiting the sale of containers of spirits of 100mL or less and imposing a voluntary ban on containers priced below $3 is a modification of the liquor license within state law,” read the complaint. “The action of the Board is so modifying the license was unsupported by substantial evidence; arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion…; unsupported by specific findings of fact or by the evidence; based upon error of law; made upon unlawful procedure; violative of its own policies and procedures; and in excess of the statutory authority of the board.”

The attorney said his clients sought a review before the ABCC and would reverse the actions made on his clients.

The ‘nip’ ban was followed up by an effort to also ban small bottles of 250 mL or less, but that effort was tabled in favor of a voluntary ban that is being promoted among the liquor store owners.

The review before the ABCC will likely be a test case for the entire state as many urban municipalities have also sought to ban ‘nip’ bottles from their licensed package stores. Already, Everett has taken a step in that direction as well as other surrounding cities.