hennessy

Sara Plourde/NHPR

Item No. 4 on the agenda seemed routine, even dull: a vote on “Cash Control and Security 2-11 Large Volume Sales Policy Revision.”

But within months, that one policy tweak would bring major changes -- and lots of cash -- to one of New Hampshire's most important money makers: state-run liquor stores.

N.H. Liquor Commission

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is out with a new promotion to draw in more out of state customers.

The ‘No Taxation on our Libations’ sale is billed as a thank you to the more than 11-million annual shoppers that frequent the state’s 79 liquor stores.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is seeking to ban the president of one of the state’s largest labor unions from entering any state liquor store for the next six months.

The effort is an escalation in an ongoing dispute between the state agency and some of its workers over the proper handling of large all-cash transactions and allegations of bootlegging.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is making a bet on itself. The state agency is investing heavily in refurbished outlets and supermarket-sized new facilities. It’s part of a long-term strategy to increase sales and ward off competition from other states.

Lawmakers who count on liquor profits to help fund state government are watching closely to see if these expensive projects pay off, with some concerned about the early results.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr/Creative Commons

A long-festering dispute between New Hampshire Liquor Commission management and the union employees who staff the state-run stores erupted in front-page headlines this week.

JOE SHLABOTNIK / FLICKR/CREATIVE COMMONS

The New Hampshire Legislature is scheduled to vote this week on a bill that cuts the Liquor Commission’s budget for the next fiscal year. The size of that cut, though, is far less than what’s called for under state statute.

Since 2015, there’s been a law in place that automatically reduces the Liquor Commission’s budgeted appropriation if the state-run liquor stores don’t generate a targeted amount of revenue for the general fund.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Around noon on November 9th of last year, a Black Chevy Suburban pulled up to a New Hampshire liquor store. The driver, a 46-year old Queens, New York resident named Juncheng Chen, bought some booze, then headed off to another liquor store to make another purchase.

Then another, then another.

  

In total, Chen bought liquor at six different New Hampshire stores that afternoon.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr/Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is denying allegations made by Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky that the state-run agency is engaging in questionable business practices surrounding all-cash transactions and possible money laundering.

N.Y. Department of Taxation

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office says it is investigating how the state Liquor Commission handles large volume, all-cash sales at its retail outlets across the state. 

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

A week after requesting information about possible contacts between the New Hampshire Liquor Commission and a New York man charged with bootlegging, the IRS is now withdrawing its summons, according to the Commission.

N.Y. Tax Department of Taxation

Internal Revenue Service agents want to review communications between New Hampshire state liquor store employees and two New York residents, one of whom was arrested in that state in December on charges of bootlegging.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Agents from the Internal Revenue Service made unannounced visits to New Hampshire liquor stores last week, according to multiple sources. The action comes in the wake of allegations made by an elected official that the state-run stores aren’t doing enough to stop potentially illegal all-cash transactions, exposing the state and liquor store employees to possible lawsuits and harm.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr/Creative Commons

It may not be every New Hampshire reveler’s go-to drink order, but Hennessy cognac was the top selling spirit by volume at state-run liquor stores in 2017, accounting for nearly 5 percent of total sales that year.

 

Hennessy also happens to be the liquor at the center of bootlegging allegations made last month by Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, who is calling for an investigation into how the New Hampshire Liquor Commission handles large all-cash sales made by out-of-state residents.

Courtesy of NH Liquor Commission

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission has fired a retail employee who it says violated policies by improperly completing a large all-cash sale at a state liquor store last month.

That transaction, involving $24,000 worth of Hennessy cognac, is at the heart of allegations being made Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky into wrongdoing by the Liquor Commission.

Lauren Chooljian/NHPR

Large all-cash transactions. Out-of-state customers going store to store to buy enormous quantities of Hennessy cognac. Employees unsure about how to handle potentially illegal liquor sales.

NHPR File Photo

The Chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party Monday criticized an Executive Councilor for conducting his own "misguided sting" investigation into potential money laundering at state liquor stores.

After receiving allegations about potential money laundering taking place at state-run New Hampshire liquor stores, Gov. Chris Sununu says the source of the allegations--an elected official--may have acted improperly in gathering information.

Andru Volinsky, Letter to Governor and Attorney General

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky is calling for an investigation into the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, alleging that the state’s liquor stores are engaging in business practices that could “unquestionably facilitate money laundering related to criminal activities.”