Apply for an Alcoholic Beverages Retail License (New or Transfer)

Below you will find the forms and procedures needed to apply for or transfer an alcoholic beverages retail license.

Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission

The Details of Apply for an Alcoholic Beverages Retail License (New or Transfer)

What you need for Apply for an Alcoholic Beverages Retail License (New or Transfer)

To apply for an alcoholic beverages retail license, you will need the following forms completed:

SPECIAL NOTICE:

After September 10 the following transactions will require a Certificate of Compliance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance:

  • Transfer of license
  • Change of officers/directors/LLC manager
  • Change of ownership
  • Change of stock interest
  • Change of corporate structure change of category
  • Change of classification
  • Change of corporate name
  • Pledge of license
  • Stock or inventory
  • Management agreement, and
  • Change of non-profit club officers and directors

Please see the guide for instructions on how to obtain a Department of Unemployment Assistance Certificate of Compliance (see Downloads).

Fees for Apply for an Alcoholic Beverages Retail License (New or Transfer)

Name Fee Unit
Processing Fee $200 each

How to apply Apply for an Alcoholic Beverages Retail License (New or Transfer)

  1. Submit your application to your Local Licensing Authority (LLA) and publish an advertisement of a public hearing on your application. It must be published within 10 days of your application.
  2. The hearing will be held between 10 and 30 days. The LLA must act on an application within 30 days of it being filed.
  3. If the LLA grants the license, you application will be forwarded to the ABCC within 3 days.

Next steps for Apply for an Alcoholic Beverages Retail License (New or Transfer)

  1. LLA Hearings

    When an application is filed with the Local Licensing Authority (LLA), the LLA holds a hearing and issues either a decision of Approval or Disapproval, along with a Statement of Reasons.

    If the LLA disapproves, the aggrieved party may appeal to ABCC within 5 business days of receipt of the decision.

    After the ABCC receives the appeal, a hearing is conducted and decision is reached.

  2. ABCC Approval or Disapproval

    If the ABCC approves the LLA denial of license application, applicant may appeal ABCC decision to Superior Court within 30 days.

    If the ABCC disapproves of the action of the LLA to deny a license, the ABCC remands to the LLA recommending further action.

    The LLA must take the action recommended within 5 days of receipt of the ABCC decision. The LLA then acts and decides to either affirm their original decision of denial or accept and implement the recommendtion of the ABCC and grant a license.

    If the LLA upholds decision to deny the license and the applicant is:

    • renewing their license:

      • Applicant may reappeal to ABCC within five days.
      • Applicant may file suit against their LLA (MGL c. 249 $ 4).

    • requesting a new license or change of location:

      • Applicant may file suit against their LLA (MGL c. 249 $ 4)

      • Applicant may NOT reappeal to the ABCC.

  3. Final license application approval

    If the application is approved by the LLA, it is forwarded to the ABCC and received by ABCC through a lockbox no later than 3 days after LLA approval.

    The investigator will investigate the proposed licensed premises, you as an applicant, and the source(s) of financing for the transaction. You must respond promptly to an investigator's inquiries. Failure to do so will result in a delay of the approval and may result in a denial of your application.

    If the investigator approves the application, the Executive Director reviews the application for recommendation of approval. Once the Executive Director approves, the application is sent to the Commission members for approval.

    The LLA must issue the license within 7 days of receipt of approval from the ABCC.

  4. License application denials

    If the application is denied with Statement of Reason by LLA, the applicant may or may not appeal to ABCC. See Violations and Appeals for more information.

Downloads for Apply for an Alcoholic Beverages Retail License (New or Transfer)

Contact for Apply for an Alcoholic Beverages Retail License (New or Transfer)

Address
239 Causeway Street, 1st Floor, Boston, MA 02114
Online
Find Your ABCC Representative ABCC Staff Directory 

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