AUGUSTA, Maine — Gerry Reid, who oversaw the renegotiation of the state’s liquor contract and struck a deal he believes will double state revenues from liquor distribution over the next 10 years, has announced that he is retiring from state government.
Reid, whose tenure with the state will reach two years on Feb. 1, said it was always his intention to oversee the liquor contract renegotiation before returning to the private sector, specifically a consultancy business where he’ll work on food and beverage marketing and new product development. Asked if any of his future contracts will have anything to do with liquor sales or marketing in Maine, Reid said they wouldn’t.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I’m smart enough to know that that would be a potential conflict. The people I am most likely to be consulting with have nothing to do with this request for proposals [for the state liquor contract].”
Reid, the director of the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations, announced last week that the first part of the liquor contract, which covers warehousing and distribution, had been awarded to Pine State Trading Co. The 10-year contract, which goes into effect on July 1, is expected to generate some $450 million for the state, compared to about $190 million that the state has raised in the past 10 years under its current contract.
Some of those revenues will be allocated to retire a revenue bond used to pay off the state’s $183.5 million share of $490 million in past Medicaid debt to hospitals.
Reid said when he was approached by Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration in 2012, he had never considered taking a job in state government.
“It was completely unplanned,” he said. “I never had any intention or plan to be in state government in any fashion, but the nature of the role was very well aligned with my background. It was something I thought I could contribute to quickly and help the agenda of a governor who I admire and respect.”
Reid has worked in the food and beverage sectors for much of his career, most recently as managing director for tequila producer Jose Cuervo International.
Reid said he submitted his resignation letter on Friday and that it’s effective Feb. 28. By then, he’ll have completed some unfinished business: awarding the second phase of the state liquor contract, which is for marketing. Reid told the Bangor Daily News last week that he expected the second phase of the contract to be awarded within two months.