Cambridge, MA asked in Business Law and Criminal Law for Massachusetts

Q: Can a business deliver free alcohol as a gift with the ordered product to customers?

In the state of Massachusetts its illegal to sell alcohol after 11pm in stores. If there was a company that sells and delivers candles 24 hours a day, can the company give free alcohol as a gift to the buyer after 11pm? Technically it's legal but I wanted to know what problems this company might have?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kas DeCarvalho
Kas DeCarvalho

A: I strongly recommend that you contact the Commonwealth's Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, which will almost certainly have a position on this. As a practical matter, Massachusetts law prohibits any unlicensed sale, storage, transportation, importing, exporting, and manufacturing with the intent to sell (among other things). I understand your question: "What if I'm not actually selling the alcohol?" But leaving aside the potential liability issues that I lump collectively into the general category of, "This Is Not a Good Idea," I'll also note that the Statutes also state that the delivery of alcoholic beverages in or from any place that is not a private dwelling house is presumed to be a sale, which may also trip you up. Short version--you're in dangerous territory here.

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