BY: Citizens Count
The New Hampshire Senate is considering HB 114, which would allow specialty beer stores in New Hampshire.
Under current state law, any store that wants to sell beer must follow regulations for grocery stores, which includes stocking a minimum inventory of certain foods.
HB 114 would create a beer specialty license that would allow a store to skip the food inventory if they stock at least 400 varieties of beer.
At a Senate committee hearing, Rep. Keith Murphy provided photo examples of a specialty beer store in New Hampshire with a rack of spam and evaporated milk, stocked solely to meet the meat and dairy inventory requirements.
"There are dozens of beer stores throughout our state, they already exist, they already have licenses, and I don't see what public purpose is met by forcing these beer stores to carry spam and evaporated milk," said Murphy.
The NH Grocers Association and some addiction recovery specialists oppose the bill. They argue that the pairing of food and alcohol has been in place since Prohibition and is not an excessive burden on businesses.
"The purpose of this requirement is important to both public health and safety requirements and community reputation to ensure that communities are not burdened by proliferation of package stores that sell nothing but alcohol and tobacco products," testified Kate Frey, Deputy Director at New Futures.