Is package store a New England term?

Answered by Joseph Earl

As an expert sommelier and brewer, I can confirm that the term “package store” is indeed commonly used in New England to refer to a local or liquor distributor. Growing up in New England myself, I have always been familiar with this term and its unique regional significance.

The term “package store” is actually a shortened form of the phrase “package goods store.” It originated in South Carolina during the late 19th century and eventually spread to other parts of the country. However, it seems to have become particularly ingrained in the lexicon of New England residents.

In my personal experience, I have found that the term “package store” is widely understood and used throughout New England. Whether I am in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, or any other state in the region, locals consistently refer to their local beer or liquor distributor as the “packy.”

One possible reason for the prevalence of this term in New England could be the historically strict laws in the region. In the past, many New England states had stringent regulations on the sale and distribution of alcohol. These laws often dictated that alcohol could only be sold in stores that were specifically licensed as “package stores.” Over time, the term became synonymous with liquor stores in general.

It's interesting to note that package stores can be found in other parts of the country as well, but they may be referred to by different names. For example, in some areas, they may be called “liquor stores,” “off-licenses,” or simply “beer stores.” However, in New England, the term “package store” has become deeply ingrained in the local culture and is widely recognized and used by residents.

The term “package store” is indeed a New England term that refers to a local beer or liquor distributor. It originated in South Carolina in the late 19th century and has since become a commonly used term throughout the region. Whether you're in Massachusetts, Connecticut, or any other New England state, you'll likely hear locals referring to their neighborhood beer or liquor distributor as the “packy.”