Sen. William (Bill) Soules
SANTA FE – In New Mexico, the high price of a liquor licenses hinders many local restaurant owners from purchasing a full liquor license. With a price range of up to $1 million, national chain restaurants seem to be some of the only establishments who can afford to operate in the state with a full bar.
Sen. William (Bill) Soules, D-37-Dona Ana, has filed legislation for the upcoming session that he says will enable restaurants that have a wine and beer license to offer New Mexico distillery spirits, giving the local economy a boost.
“The current high price of purchasing a full liquor license can affect the survival of many local restaurants and can restrict their success. This bill is designed to build local industry, and a benefit is that the training is already in place for servers of the restaurants that the legislation targets,” Soules said. “Making licenses exclusive to New Mexico spirit distilleries supports New Mexico branding, feeds into tourism by promoting local products, and keeps our restaurants in business by helping them profit on more than just food.”
According to the legislation, a local option district may approve the issuance of restaurant licenses for the sale of beer, wine and spirits produced in the state by holding a special election. After such approval and the completion by the applicants of all requirements in the Liquor Control Act for the issuance of licenses, local restaurants will be able to buy licenses to sell local spirits along with beer and wine.
“I hope this encourages local spending and showcases what New Mexico can offer in the industry,” Soules said. “I’m excited to see how constituents, especially restaurant and distillery owners, respond.”