New Hampshire Liquor by the numbers


Our state liquor system generates over $108mil in revenue from out of state visitors and another $46mil from New Hampshire's own population of drinkers.  Who says socialism isn't a good thing!

New Hampshire is the only state in the country that has a total hold on the retail and wholesale distribution of hard alcohol. Although there are several other "Control States"

The Salem Liquor store was replaced in 2015 with a new 24,000 square foot retail space, doubling its area. This store is strategically located about 2 miles from the Massachusetts border and is accessible from Rt 28 and Interstate 93

Observations on report.

Consumption assumptions use the entire state population as the base for its statistics, yet the top selling, and also newest, location for the state is only 2 miles beyond the Massachusetts border on I95 N. This location is predominately serving the tourists entering the state. It has a paired stored on I95S with slightly similar sales. 2 other highway stores in Hookset, along with both sides of I93 serve largely a transient customer base since they are only accessible along a toll road. The Portsmouth store, like Salem, is also within a few miles of the MA border, and services the busy beach tourist crowd from Salsbury and Newburyport, MA.


"Apparent" consumption statistics are not accurate because it uses an improper base in its calculation. Using state population numbers of around 1.3 million people encapsulates all of the residents under the age of 21 which, according to the US census data, account for roughly 

80.5% of the state population is over the age of 18, and extrapolating this statistic to 21, the legal drinking age in the state, would change the percentage of residents of legal drinking age to about 77% or a population of just over one million residents.

Since the NH toll roads account from a large amount of the state's liquor sales, it's safe to assume that a significant portion of the state's revenue is coming from our state, namely Massachusets. Tourists are one stream for liquor customers, but having grown up in Methuen, I know first hand that out of state border town populations make plenty of visits to stores like Salem, Plastow and even Keene.

But the national average on Alcohol consumption is estimated to be at around 1.2 gallons per legal adult, which is only one-quarter of what NH officially estimates as an "Apparent" rate of consumption per person. Why so high? Because a more practical assumption for reporting on the apparent consumption rate is that we are a retail liquor store for far more tourists and mass residents than we are for own population of legal-aged drinkers.


Tourism for the summer of 2017 was estimated to be at about 17 million people, while winter estimates were about half that at 8.5 million, and fall leaf peepers account for another 710 thousand visitors. If 70% of those tourists& are over the age of 21, this would mean that roughly 18 million visits to the state were made by adults of legal drinking age. Let's also assume that a single tourist might visit the state 2 - 3 times in one year, we'll split the difference at 2.5, to get a population of about 6.1million unique visitors to the state. 

NH Liquor Commission Annual Report - 2017 page 6