Changes to Liquor Control Act Designed to Support Hospitality Industry
SANTA FE – Representative Dayan Hochman-Vigil has introduced legislation to modernize the New Mexico Liquor Control Act to significantly improve the economic viability of New Mexico’s hospitality sector. The bill, HB8, which was introduced today, is a priority bill of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has prioritized boosting businesses and restaurants adversely affected by the pandemic.
“Our bar and restaurant owners have endured economic hardships during COVID in order to keep their communities safe and slow the spread of COVID-19.” said Linda Trujillo Superintendent. “We will continue to look for ways to support these businesses.”
The home delivery of alcohol follows the model of states like Arizona, Georgia and Louisiana which allow for home delivery by the licensed establishment or by third party delivery services while strengthening the requirements, insuring that deliveries are not made to minors, intoxicated, or to prohibited locations such as schools or universities.
“New Mexico Alcoholic Beverage Control Division is committed to finding solutions for New Mexico,” said Andrew Vallejos, Alcoholic Beverage Control Director. “These proposed changes will help revitalize the hospitality industry, add flexibility of for small business owners, and create entrepreneurial opportunities for New Mexicans.”
The liquor delivery bill addresses three main issues:
1. Home Delivery: The ability for dispensers (grocery stores, liquor stores), small brewers, wineries, craft distillers and restaurants to provide home delivery of alcohol;
2. On-Premises Spirits: It creates a new type of restaurant license that would allow for “on-premises” service of spirituous alcohol. Currently restaurants can only serve beer and wine without having to obtain a dispenser type license;
3. Buy-Back Privileges: It would allow licensees that have an inter-local dispenser license to buy back the package privileges lost when the license moved from its previous municipality to its current location and would allow for dispenser licenses to move without losing the package privilege prospectively.
“The creation of a restaurant license with spirits will provide the ability for restaurants to improve their profit margins without having to obtain a dispenser license. The cost of obtaining a dispenser license in conjunction with restaurant service has long been an obstacle for restaurants growth and have inhibited wage growth for tipped staff,” said Rep. Hochman-Vigil.
The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department regulates more than 500,000 individuals and businesses in 35 industries, professions and trades across the state. Its goal is to assure that New Mexicans receive quality services from qualified individuals and businesses while also ensuring fair and prompt administrative process.