AUGUSTA — Saying that sportsmen want the right to grab both beer and bait at the crack of dawn, a southern Maine lawmaker has proposed rolling back agency liquor store sales to 5 a.m., seven days a week.

“They don’t want to have to buy their bait the night before,” state Rep. Jonathan Kinney, R-Limington, said. “If they buy bait in the morning and they decide they want to buy a can of beer with it, they want that freedom to be able to do so.”

The change would also apply to bars, according to David Heidrich, spokesman for the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.

Kinney’s bill, LD 684, is one of several alcohol-related proposals up for public hearings in front of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on Monday.

Under current statute, agency liquor stores can start selling liquor at 6 a.m. Monday to Saturday and at 9 a.m. on Sundays. Kinney’s bill, co-sponsored by state Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, would push that back to 5 a.m. every day.

Kinney said it also solves an “ongoing dilemma” for third-shift workers: “When they get out of work, 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning is their evening time and they can’t buy what they want to buy.”


It’s supported by retail stores, Kinney said, but not necessarily by him. He submitted the legislation at the request of lobbyists. 

“I do not take an opinion on a bill until after a public hearing and a work session, even though I introduced it,” he said. “I might get in there and hear testimony that turns me right against the bill.”

Another bill, LD 616, sponsored by state Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake, R-Turner, would let hard apple cider producers hang onto their tasting rooms when they go big.

“If you’re selling wine or hard cider and you’ve got a tasting room, once you get over 50,000 gallons, under state law you’re no longer allowed to have a tasting room,” Timberlake said. “Breweries are exempt. We’re trying to move wineries and cideries to the same level as breweries, just treating them exactly the same.”

Andy Ricker, who runs Ricker Hill Orchard’s new cider plant and winery, said to his knowledge, no hard cider-maker or winery has gotten that large yet that the rule would apply, but he hopes to be there in the next two to three years.

“There are several, if they continue to grow, they will get there,” Ricker said. “That’s trying to solve a problem before it occurs.”

State Rep. Heidi Brooks, D-Lewiston, has a bill that would allow breweries to make hard cider. A fourth bill up for a public hearing would make it legal for retail liquor license holders to “dispense liquor from kegs into seal-able refillable containers for resale.” 

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