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Friday, December 5, 2008

Breaking the Liquor Store Monopoly?

New Hampshire has long relied on sales of hard alcohol at state owned stores for revenue. While other states impose hefty taxes on vodka, scotch, and rum, New Hampshire keeps prices down by simply pocketing the profit on each bottle, and barring the sale of anything harder than Pinot Noir in grocery stores.

But in an effort to boost state revenues, Liquor Commissioner Mark Bodi is floating the idea of putting Jack Daniels next to Bud Light and the Yellowtail Chardonney at your local supermarmket. Josh Rogers reports for New Hampshire Public Radio:


About 5 minutes into his testimony to state budget writers Monday, Commissioner Mark Bodi made a glancing mention to what could prove the most conspicuous shift in state alcohol marketing policy since grocers were given permission to sell wine 30 years ago.

“The commission is currently reviewing how we might expand the sales of spirits specifically through greater agency store operations. However that review continues and I’m not in position today to offer any short estimates as to what the likely revenue from any expansion of agency stores would create.”

Outside the hearing room, Commissioner Bodi continued to play things pretty close to the vest. When asked for a ballpark notion of what state might gain by putting hard liquor in grocery stores, he said millions and left it at that. Bodi did say however, that new agency stores would be tailored to meet the needs of consumers and retailers alike.

“In areas where there are strong demands, grocery stores would have a significant number of spirit offerings. In areas where there is lower demand, you would have an opportunity for a small mom-and-pop store to add a few skews of vodka and bourbon as a convenience item.”

1 comment:

  1. Knowing what a huge problem alcoholism is for a fairly large number of citizens in our present society, I think this is a bad idea. I speak from some rather personal experience with people close to me (not me). The state spends lots of money on social service agencies to "help" people in "need." I think the state is the biggest "drug dealer" of them all, in a sense, by selling and profiting the most destructive "drug" in society. Following the mindset, I don't understand why they don't market and sell marijuana for profit-- after all, it would be a new "segment" (revenue stream) to tap...