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New Mexico restaurants and bars prepare for sweeping liquor law changes

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — This summer, New Mexico will see its biggest overhaul of liquor laws in decades.

"There's a lot of good changes on the horizon," said Russell Hernandez, the co-owner and CEO of Salud De Mesilla.

"You know, I'm hoping that will be really good for our business," said Chris Schaefer, the owner of Dry Point Distillers.

For $500, restaurants with a beer and wine license will be able to serve spirits made in New Mexico. For $10,000, owners can get their full liquor license.

"This was an enormous swing in a short period of time," said Tom Hutchinson, who paid $150,000 for a liquor license at La Posta in 1996 and $350,000 for a license at Hacienda de Mesilla in 2017.

Before this year, the number of liquor licenses across the state was limited at 407. The price was based on demand, but they were collectively worth $122 million in value, Hutchinson said.

The law offers tax breaks to existing license holders, but Hutchinson said it won't make up for the loss in his licenses' value.

"For the most part, you can buy the license I have today for $10,000," Hutchinson said.

There are a total of 407 of the original liquor license

Other changes in the law include:

  • No sales of "minis" behind the counter at gas stations or stores. The miniature bottles of alcohol can only be sold at hotels and golf courses for consumption on the property.
  • Restaurants can now deliver alcohol with at least $10 of food
  • Restaurants are allowed serve alcohol before 11 a.m. on Sunday

Click here to read the House Bill 255 for yourself.

Biz/Tech / New Mexico Politics / News

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

Comments

4 Comments

  1. As if NM doesn’t have enough alcohol related problems already. My grandson lives in Albuquerque, has lost two cars in intersections by someone running a red light. In both cases, drivers/passengers bailed out and ran, leaving alcohol containers behind! Both cars were stolen.

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