Massachusetts Booze Laws That Mainers Would Never Tolerate
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
Picture this: It’s a Thursday afternoon on a beautiful sunny day in New England, it’s been a long week at work, and a dear friend wants to go relax on a patio and drink a cheap mojito for happy hour.
What would be a no-brainer for a Mainer is actually against the law in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Strict Alcohol Laws
What part of that scenario is illegal? The ‘happy hour’.
As clearly stated on the mass.gov official website, under 204 CMR 4:00: Prohibition of certain practices, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) has the power to enforce a ban on various alcohol-related promotions and deals.
What does this mean? Well, it means that a lot of drink deals us Mainers live for and take for granted are against the rules in the state of Massachusetts. I guess I’ve never tried to hit a happy hour in Boston because this is actually news to me and the law has been in place for decades.
According to the official website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “No licensee or employee or agent of a licensee shall:
- Offer or deliver any free drinks to any person or group of persons;
- Deliver more than two drinks to one person at one time;
- Sell, offer to sell or deliver to any person or group of persons any drinks at a price less than the price regularly charged for drinks during the same calendar week;
- Sell, offer to sell or deliver to any person an unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price…”
There are even more regulations and prohibitions but those are just the juicy ones.
Oh, and there’s also no tolerance for drinking games or contests that are alcohol-related and don’t you dare think any prize for any type of contest can be booze-y.
Are Doubles Legal in Boston?
Technically, yes, but it’s touchy. As the law states, you can have two drinks at one time as one person, so technically a double drink is legal. But in most states, when you order a double drink there’s just a small up charge but in Massachusetts, you have to literally pay double the drink price.
Since there can’t be any price deals on alcohol, if you order a double drink you’re paying for two drinks. Most bars will just tell you they don’t do doubles rather than deal with people complaining that their vodka soda cost $20. Different places say different things.
So, you can’t go to a happy hour, there are no deals on drinks, you can’t get bottomless mimosas, you definitely can’t get a beer pitcher to yourself, and you need to be ready to drop a pretty penny if you want a little extra booze in that cup.
Here in Maine, we're used to not having bottomless options but as for the rest of these drink laws, Mainers just wouldn't stand for it.