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MMBA | Summary Sheet

  • Municipal liquor stores started after Prohibition as a means for cities to control the distribution of alcohol in their communities. Later, cities found their municipal liquor store could be a method of generating needed non-tax revenue. Today, the purpose of municipal liquor stores is to "control the distribution of alcohol - while simultaneously generating income for the community."
  • "Controlling the sale of alcohol" is different than "responsible service." All alcohol sellers should serve responsibly - don't sell to underage or intoxicated individuals. Controlling the sale of alcohol means reflecting a community attitude - often resulting in a strategic and publicly supported reduction in liquor operation revenue.
  • Off-sale municipal liquor operations have geographic exclusivity but not competitive exclusivity. This competition has caused municipal liquor operations to become more business savvy - with the goal of encouraging customers to purchase at the municipal liquor operation, instead of somewhere else.
  • There are 210 cities with off-sale or on-sale / off-sale combination municipal liquor operations, operating 242 facilities. Sales range from approximately $120,000 to over $14 million per year. Total annual sales are approximately $300 million with total annual profits of approximately $20 million. Profits are used by cities for general fund activities or special projects including recreation programs, elderly transportation and public safety equipment.
  • Sales have increased over the past decade and the trend is continuing.
  • The strong trend in large cities and small towns is to remodel and / or expand existing facilities and build new facilities.
  • Municipal liquor operations can advertise, promote, price etc. like independently owned operators. However, because of the "alcohol control" element, municipal liquor operators may choose not to engage in certain, otherwise legal, activities.