Is $400 Too Much for a BYOB License?

A story we ran Thursday morning stirred up quite a discussion among our readers. Where do you stand on the issue?

At their meeting at Abbot Hall Wednesday night, the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a motion to enact the local BYOB regulations that they've been hammering out over the last two months and paved the way for as many as five carry-in alcoholic beverage licenses in town.

The need for BYOB regulations was pushed to the forefront in September when Marblehead's new Mexican restaurant on Smith Street, Casa Corona, filed a request for permission to allow patrons to bringing along their own alcohol beverages.

Alhough they originally wanted to charge only $50 for the licenses because they understood that the business owners wouldn't be making any money off the alcohol customers brought along with them, it was at the recommendation of Town Counsel that they increase the amount to $400.

The $400 pricetag is meant to pay for the time local officers will spend policing the licenses and the efforts of town officials who will be responsible for making sure the guidelines are followed.

Another point they considered when coming up with a price is the fact that a one-day liquor license in Marblehead (for events) costs $50 - so charging a business $50 for an all-year BYOB license didn't seem appropriate.

Reader Comments from Thursday

John Buba: "This took way too long and $400 is an absurd amount of money for this right..."

ps: "There's a reason they made nips....always works for me...concerts, over-priced restaurant drinks...sporting events...just saying.."

brent munroe: "I agree 400 bucks seems a lot for a byob license.. Happy to hear they got the license though..."

Where Do You Stand?

Do you think $400 per year is an appropriate price for one of Marblehead's new carry-in alcohol licenses because having one will boost business?

Do you think the licenses should have been been cheaper considering the restaurant owners won't be making money off of beer and wine sales?

Let us know in the comments section below.

louise November 16, 2012 at 02:35 PM
A $400 annual fee is not an absurd amount of money if the town needs to check in on the business throughout the year, file initial and follow-up paperwork, etc. Alcoholic beverages are sold at an incredible mark-up at restaurants so bringing your own bottle of wine or drinks saves the customer a significant amount of money ($10 or much, much more). Making up the $33 per month it will cost a restaurant to maintain a BYOB license is as simple as charging a $1 per table surcharge for bringing their own. That, in my opinion, is a win all the way around.
MHH101 November 16, 2012 at 02:43 PM
The $400 fee is appropriate. Every BYOB restaurant that I've been to charges a service charge, typically $3, for uncorking, glassware, disposal of empties and profit.
John Buba November 16, 2012 at 03:31 PM
By law towns can charge fees for services PROVIDED the fee does not exceed the cost of providing the service. That is the issue here. The Selectmen appear to have arbitrarily chosen $400 as the fee because as the patch reported "some other town charges that." That is not what the law states. What the comments above are talking about is a TAX pure and simple. They are saying that the restaurant makes more money by having the license and so they should pay the town some money. That is by definition an income tax is; it not? The Selectmen are not allowed to impose taxes on its citizens only the legislature can create a tax So let’s find out what is behind this fee. (Which I agree really looks like just another tax.)


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