Cumberland Farms Leads Massachusetts Alcohol Sale Change

State’s Package Store Association seeks to remove c-store’s proposed measure from the 2020 ballot.

January 20, 2020

BOSTON—Last year, Cumberland Farms proposed a ballot initiative in Massachusetts that would let retailers sell beer and wine at any of their stores, with no cap on the number of locations. As voters wait to make the final decision in November 2020, the back-and-forth between the c-store chain and the Massachusetts Package Store Association continues.

As things stand, chain stores have the same restrictions and limits as package stores: Each business can have liquor licenses for only nine locations. That poses a problem for the nearly 200 Cumberland Farms stores in Massachusetts.

"It's way past time to reform some of these outdated, protectionist laws that keep the package store monopoly in place," said Matthew Durand, Cumberland Farms head of public policy.

Parties who oppose Cumberland Farm’s view say that the plan will hurt local package stores and say the ballot is confusing. The Massachusetts Package Store Association is taking its case to the state’s high court to try and remove it from the November 2020 ballot.

The proposed plan would maintain a cap on the number of licenses for package stores for four years. The license limit for a liquor business would increase over the four-year period and then be eliminated altogether.