Massachusetts Beer

Today in 1788, Massachusetts became the 6th state.


Massachusetts Breweries

Masschusetts Brewery Guides

Guild: Massachusetts Brewers Guild

State Agency: Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission


  • Capital: Boston
  • Largest Cities: Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, Cambridge
  • Population: 6,349,097; 13th
  • Area: 10,555 sq.mi., 44th
  • Nickname: The Bay State
  • Statehood: 6th, February 6, 1788


  • Alcohol Legalized: December 5, 1933
  • Number of Breweries: 40
  • Rank: 15th
  • Beer Production: 4,265,155
  • Production Rank: 14th
  • Beer Per Capita: 20.3 Gallons


Package Mix:

  • Bottles: 49.8%
  • Cans: 39.4%
  • Kegs: 10.5%

Beer Taxes:

  • Per Gallon: $0.11*
  • Per Case: $0.24*
  • Tax Per Barrel (24/12 Case): $3.30*
  • Draught Tax Per Barrel (in Kegs): $3.30*
    • * plus sales tax (an exemption ended in 2009)

Economic Impact (2010):

  • From Brewing: $507,113,526
  • Direct Impact: $1,951,782,007
  • Supplier Impact: $1,379,865,866
  • Induced Economic Impact: $1,153,744,790
  • Total Impact: $4,485,392,664

Legal Restrictions:

  • Control State: No
  • Sale Hours: On Premises: 8:00 a.m.–2:00 a.m. by state law, although individual cities and towns may prohibit sales before 11:00 a.m. and after 11:00 p.m. Not before 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.
    Off Premises: 8:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m., or 8:00 a.m.–11:30 p.m. on the day before a holiday. Not before noon on Sunday.
  • Grocery Store Sales: Yes
  • Notes: No individual, partnership, or corporation may have more than three off-premises licences in the state, nor more than two in any city, nor more than one in any town. No individual, partnership, or corporation not resident or headquartered in Massachusetts may apply for a license, although one may devolve upon such a corporation.

    On-premises regulations: No discounts at specific times (i.e. no “Happy Hour” discounts) or for specific individuals, no fixed-price open bar or all-you-can-drink (except at private functions), no more than two drinks per individual at any one time, no pitchers for fewer than two people, no drinking contests, no drinks as prizes, no free drinks.

    Off-premises sale of alcohol is prohibited on the last Monday in May (Memorial Day), Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas if Christmas falls on a Sunday.[6]
    Sale of alcohol is prohibited during polling hours on election days (subject to local exceptions).[6]
    “Malt beverages” defined as having not more than 12% alcohol by weight.


Data complied, in part, from the Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac 2010, Beer Serves America, the Brewers Association, Wikipedia and my World Factbook. If you see I’m missing a brewery link, please be so kind as to drop me a note or simply comment on this post. Thanks.

For the remaining states, see Brewing Links: United States.


  1. says

    Why do these state reviews always list an excise tax for “kegs” and per barrel, usually and contradictory the same amount (as here for Mass.), when a keg technically is 7.75 gallons (altho’ many use the term for any size these days) and the legal size of a “beer barrel” is 31 gallons?

    • Jay Brooks says

      Sorry, I’ll make that clearer. I was trying to keep the description short. It’s “TAX PER 31 GALLON BARREL (CASE OF 24/12)” vs. “DRAUGHT TAX PER BARREL (IN KEGS).” In most cases, they’re the same. But not in every state, which I why I continue to list them separately. For those data points, the information comes from the Beer Institute’s Brewers Almanac.

  2. says

    If you’re taking ‘corrections,’ Buzzards Bay is still brewing…”Just Beer” is their dba. Business action; they’re getting out of a tight wholesaler contract.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>