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July 7, 2017

Retailers: Proposed nips ban will stifle business

The Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association has come out against the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations' proposed ban on the sale of 50-milliliter bottles of alcohol, or nips.

The Sun Journal reported the association issued a statement saying the proposal would "take money out of the pockets of the state's essential business partners" and warned the move would undermine efforts in recent years to reclaim millions of dollars in alcohol sales that had been lost to New Hampshire while doing little or nothing to stifle drunken driving.

It's expected that more than 100 of the state's retailers that compete directly with cross-border stores could take a hit if nips are banned, said the association's executive director, Christine Cummings.

The association's statement is in response to bureau director Gregory Mineo's recommendation that asserted banning nips will reduce littering, make it harder to drive while drinking and cause "no significant loss of revenues" for the state.

The bureau is looking at a nips ban following the Legislature's override of Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill that sought to impose a nickel deposit on nips beginning in 2019.

Nips sales have risen by 40% or more annually for the past five years, the newspaper reported.

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