If you live in Massachusetts and you bought a Groupon deal for a sports bar, we hope you enjoy dollar tacos. That’s because deals that don’t stop at food, but also discount liquor, are now void in the Bay State.
Last month, the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission sent Groupon a letter telling it that deals that discount drinks are illegal. Today comes word that Groupon has relented, changing its policy to exclude alcohol from what can be purchased with its restaurant and bar coupons. The change in policy also applies to already purchased deals.
Apparently not a fan of online innovation, ABC counsel William A. Kelley Jr. wrote to Groupon: “I am hopeful that the long-established, clear, bright lines of the boundaries of legality have not vanished in the rear-view mirror of entrepreneurism driven by unbridled and imprudent, if not reckless, enthusiasm.”
Those “bright lines” say that licensed alcohol retailers in the state can’t offer coupons or otherwise discount their beverages. Only one price can be offered.
It’s unclear what harm would come from restaurant-goers using their Groupon deals to have wine with dinner or beer with their chicken wings, and they probably still will, just at full price. Customers who bought deals listed for food and alcohol can contact Groupon for a refund.