Wednesday 19 October 2011

Bootleggers and Baptists - alcohol regulations

In America, liquor licencing regulations generally serve to protect incumbent liquor stores against competition while being supported by anti-alcohol community activists that give the veneer of public interest. Here's Minneapolis:
The Star Tribune has (finally) caught on to the curious story of Dan Kerkinni, whose attempts to open a craft beer-oriented liquor store in Uptown has highlighted the complex and restrictive regulatory regime controlling liquor stores in Minneapolis. As you likely know by now, Kerkinni was first Bock-blocked by the City Council, with Council Member Meg Tuthill pushing through new distancing requirements to prevent Kerkinni’s store from opening at 26th & Hennepin. His second attempt to open the store, in a small retail space a block south at 27th & Hennepin, looks doomed to fail, as the young entrepreneur (and his brother Pierre) have been outmaneuvered by Kowalski’s Market, which has received land use approvals for a wine shop addition at their 24th & Hennepin grocery store.
Meanwhile, in New Zealand, small wineries are petitioning the government that duty-manager requirements to be imposed on cellar-door operations under the proposed revision to alcohol legislation will force their closure.

But at least the Select Committee report back on the bill recommended knocking out some other bits of silliness.

We recommend inserting new clause 100(2) in order to carry over a provision from the Sale of Liquor Act which prohibits the licensing decision - maker from considering the potential effect of a licence on the business of another licence holder. We do not believe that businesses should be able to use the licensing process to block potential competitors.
I'll expect that the amenity provisions in licencing would still have the effect of allowing competitors to encourage the lodging of objection to new licensees, but it's nice that they're at least worrying about the problem.

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