The Department of Liquor Control purchases, distributes, and sells distilled spirits through its agency stores; enforces Vermont's alcohol and tobacco statutes, with a strong emphasis on limiting youth access; educates licensees; and promotes responsibility. An integral part of our mission is to control the distribution of alcoholic beverages, while providing excellent customer service and effective public safety, for the general good of the state.
To protect the public welfare, good order, health, peace, safety, and morals of the people of this state, all to the end that traffic in intoxicating liquor shall be so conducted as to discourage intoxication and encourage temperance .
To provide an environment wherein the production, purchase, distribution, storage, and sale of alcohol beverages in the state are properly supervised and controlled.
To inform all persons who serve in any capacity in the alcohol beverage industry within the state of their responsibilities by providing frequent educational seminars on Vermont liquor laws, rules, and regulations.
In concert with the Commissioner of Taxes, to make sure that rules and regulations provide the means for assuring the collection of all taxes imposed on liquor and liquor distributors by Vermont law.
To encourage local Control Commissioners in the conduct of their offices by providing support of their licensing procedures and practices.
To conduct the operation of the department in an efficient and effective manner.
To be the medium in supplying municipalities the supplies used to comply with the provisions of the tobacco law, VSA Title 7, Chapter 40, and to conduct evidentiary hearings when required.
History/Mandate: 7 V.S.A. 101 provides: "The Department of Liquor Control, created by Section 212 of Title 3, shall include the Commissioner of Liquor Control and the Liquor Control Board." The Department's functions and responsibilities are set forth in Title 7 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated.
Major Programs/Activities: The Department collects and pays to the General Fund a tax of 25% of the retail sale price of the alcoholic beverages sold through its contract agencies. This tax is expected to produce an estimated $13.9 million in General Fund revenues in FY2007. An additional $400,000 will be contributed to the General Fund from license fees. In FY2007 the Department is contributing $327,000 to the General Fund as a mandated transfer. The Department's mandate to encourage temperance is furthered by an active licensee inspection program; mandatory server training seminars for 40,000 employees of licensees, and participation in other preventive programs such as Project Graduation, D.A.R.E., Cops In Shops, and Alcohol and Tobacco Compliance Tests for retailers.
Control: To conduct effective enforcement activities with the goal of preventing and minimizing the abuse of alcohol. To be fair, consistent, and timely in the enforcement of liquor and tobacco product laws and regulations.
Education: To provide education concerning the proper use of alcohol beverages and tobacco products to industry members, students, and the public at large.
Retail Operations/Customer Service: To provide retail customers access to clean, properly stocked outlets conveniently located in the state. To make available those products which meet the demands of residents and visitors to Vermont at reasonable prices.
Control: To continue present enforcement activities at the existing level.
Education: To ensure that every employee who is involved in the sale or serving of alcohol beverages completes a training program approved by DLC before the employee begins serving alcoholic beverages and at least once every 24 months thereafter. To educate students, in their school settings, about the laws and dangers of alcohol abuse.
Retail Operations/Customer Service: To stock new products as they are introduced into the market. To conduct surveys of customer satisfaction and unmet needs. To provide training in product knowledge and customer service for outlet personnel. To stabilize outlet inventory levels to assure full customer service.
Past and Current Trends: The Department operates 76 contract agencies. Liquor sales in Vermont steadily declined beginning in 1974 when the General Assembly changed the basis of taxation of liquor from a gallonage tax to a percentage-of-price tax. This change made Vermont liquor prices non-competitive with New Hampshire's prices and drove many Vermont residents and tourists to regularly make liquor purchases in New Hampshire. Since 1996, however, sales have steadily increased due to a new sales program featuring national brands at discounted prices. The effects of this sales program have increased dollars, but not the volume of cases being sold. This is mainly due to people buying up to premium brands of spirits.