Broadway booze battle: Packie vows to fight beer and wine license for deli across street

A new high-end deli and a longtime Broadway package store squared off today over the deli's request to offer specialty craft beers and artisan wines along with its fancy produce and meats, in a hearing that neatly wrapped up almost every oldtimer-vs.-newcomer fissure in South Boston, as well as highlighting a battle over the number of liquor licenses in the neighborhood.

Both American Provisions, 613 E. Broadway, and the Hub, across the street, came to the Boston Licensing Board hearing with lawyers and with petitions signed by hundreds of people for and against American Provision's request for a beer-and-wine license.

American Provisions says it plans to offer only a small number of "high-end, single-estate artisan wines" and similar types of beer, carefully selected to go with its food offerings. It submitted signatures of 2,000 people in favor, which its lawyer said helped proved the legally required "public need" for the license.

The Hub says South Boston already has enough places selling organic and high-end wines and beers and that the deli's request is an affront to a long-established South Boston business that deserves fairness from the board - in the form of rejecting the license. It submitted 1,900 signatures against the license request, which its lawyer said helped prove there is no legally required "public need" for the license.

Residents in favor of the proposal pointed to the thousands of new residents new developments are bringing and said they deserve a convenient place to get their fancy beverages rather than being forced to drive all the way into the South End or downtown.

Residents against the proposal said South Boston already has an alcohol-related mortality rate 15% higher than the rest of the city and that South Boston has more than enough packies to satisfy anybody's needs, no matter how exotic. The Hub said it stocks some 700 wines and 300 beers, many of them the organic, expensive stuff American Provisions says it would offer.

The licensing board votes tomorrow on the license request.

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Comments

Ahh, Capitalism...

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Business: "Stay out of our way, Government! Leave us alone to compete fairly. That's called capitalism. You just muck everything up."

(Enter new business that wants to compete)

Business: "HEY GOVERNMENT! ARE YOU GOING TO STAND THERE AND DO NOTHING ABOUT THIS ATROCITY?"

Simple

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If there's no "public need" for this type of place, then they will get their license, not do any business, and close. Stifling competition is not what the public needs.

indeed

The government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.

I love it

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"The Hub says South Boston already has enough places selling organic and high-end wines and beers and that the deli's request is an affront to a long-established South Boston business that deserves fairness from the board"

How can anyone make that case with a straight face? "You don't need another liquor store! You have everything you need right here at my store. I assure you, my prices are the best!"

Makes no sense...

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I live in Southie - I patronize both The Hub and American Provisions. Both stores serve a public need. If I'm at American Provisions buying a cheese plate and I want a wine to go with it, I'd rather just get it all in one place.

If I'm throwing a St. Pattys day party and I need a case of Bud Heavy's - I'm not going to the cheese shop.

Why is the Hub so threatened by this specialty store? While the products (beer/wine) might be the same in name, the circumstances in which you'd be in one store versus the other are different.

Honestly, the fact that The Hub is even arguing this makes me more likely to shop at Dorgan's down the street instead.

Both places will survive just fine

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This whole thing seems completely blown out of proportion. (GASP! Blown out of proportion? In Southie? That's madness (wink)!) I support new businesses expanding, and letting the market decide who wins and loses, as a matter of principal, so what's the big deal -- this isn't Walmart moving to Broadway.

But as I've been to both places, both will survive just fine, even if AP gets its license. And for one simple reason: the Hub absolutely must sell more lottery tickets than any independent store in Southie, period. Give AP the license and let's move on.

agree

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And the argument that adding liquor stores increases drinking is also absurd. Like someone who isn't already an alcoholic is going to walk by the store and think "well, I don't want to drink myself silly, but there's this nice store in front of me and I feel like I need to go in", or someone who is already an alcoholic would think "well, I was going to go to an AA meeting today....but, American Provisions is selling that new Rouge Dead Guy IPA, so maybe I'll just go tmrw".

Ugh

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I understand where the packie is coming from. I am starting to get the feeling that all the newcomers to Southie have a sense of entitlement, a "I can afford to live in a $3000/month apartment so I get to have my wine and cheese shop next door, lest I need to walk a few blocks down the street".

(I have to be careful saying that because, to the locals, I'm a newcomer too, just not one that blows my entire salary on rent)

A specialty wine and beer store opened near me recently, and it's bright and clean and hip and ridiculously expensive. Two blocks away is a packie, which is filled with cases of beer that make it hard to walk around, wine that may have a little layer of dust on it, and prices that can't be beat. And unless I really, REALLY want something odd, I'm going to the packie for my day-to-day beer and wine needs.

But. . . you have the option

But. . . you have the option of choosing the packie over the specialty store right? In this case, one business is trying to halt a competitor, effectively protecting her monopoly on that section of Broadway.

Beer and wine license

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Did anyone bother to report that the owner of Hub lives on Duxbury Beach she doesn't live in the neighborhood and this was not old vs new many old timers in southie are for this evidence by a woman who spoke at the hearing who lived in SB for 60 years!

Have you seen the degenerates

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Have you seen the degenerates going in and out of Hub? They should have their license revoked for lowering everyone's property value!

- The Original SB Yuppie

I cannot verify this

I cannot verify this unverified person is in fact The Original South Boston Yuppy, or a yuppy at all.

-South Boston Yuppy Overlord

Not sure how...

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the hub is even still in business. I never see anyone going in and out of there. I stumbled in once and the only person in there was a guy playing Keno who shot me a nasty look when I walked in. Won't make the mistake of going back there.

LOVE American Provisions!!!!

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My sister sent me a basket from them for my birthday. Cheese and meat and the whole deal. Gone in moments. I could feel my sodium levels spiking by the second... absolutely worth it.

The Hub can suck it. If you don't want competition, get out of business before somebody hurts your feelings.

So much bull(expletive) here

First of all, why the (expletive) is the expression "public need" being used with any connection to a frickin' LIQUOR STORE? Nobody needs alcohol, they want it. So we can just go ahead and drop that nonsense argument.

Second, South Boston has a 15% higher alcohol mortality rate than other Boston neighborhoods? Yay! Somebody has a grasp of middle school math! 1 is almost 15% of 7. Eight Southie people die of alcohol poisoning, and 7 people die in every other Boston neighborhood? Boom, there's your 15% higher figure. Lies, damn lies, and statistics, folks.

I don't even need to beat the free market drum here...my intellectual peers in this thread have fielded that for me already.

And again, I win at the Internet.

Public Need

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Only used "public need" in my response since that was the argument both lawyers used in their case for/against it. But you're right!

Uneven burden

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South Boston has close to 3000+/- units of BHA 'Family' housing in their developments. Roslindale , about the same population as SB, has less than 600. West Roxbury none/ zero. Hyde Park, less than 300. Dorchester has none/ zero. Mattapan, a few hundred. Check out the BHA web site, South Boston and Charlestown shoulder more than the rest. You can look it up!
Ps. You carpetbaggers/ chosen ones/ luck sperm club members love to dump on SB, you're just so f#@^*$g wonderful.

What?

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Who is dumping on Southie, and what is your response supposed to be supporting? What does the percentage of BHA units have to do with our wanting two options in Southie?

I am not "from" Southie - but I've lived here for seven years, and I LOVE this neighborhood. Wouldn't dream of "dump"ing on it.

Universal Hub

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should be called Universal Southie Bashing. Every story pertaining to Southie eventually turns into a Southie Bashing free for all.

BHA units

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Actually the approximate unit counts for each neighborhood are as follows:
South Boston - 2180
Boston - 1798
Roxbury - 1754
Dorchester - 1339
Charlestown - 1245
Allston/Brighton - 1055
East Boston - 953
JP - 980
Roslindale - 607
Mattapan - 415
West Roxbury - 223

Hyde Park has 356 and and

BHA GUY

Hey BHA Stats Guy:

No one understands how your BHA housing statistics relate to American Provisions selling $30 bottles of organic wine.

Boycott

Boycott The Hub.

While it may appear that I am blindly throwing in with American Provisions given my status as the South Boston Yuppy Overlord, here's the rest of story. I attended the last community meeting regarding American Provision's beer/wine license, and witnessed The Hub's efforts at derailing the meeting.

She has hired a lawyer who employed a number of dirty tactics to interrupt and insert confusion into the meeting. The owner went on a rant about how "IT ISN'T FEEEER!", and I have no doubt that her 1900 signatures are fabricated.

As an earlier poster commented, this protest is an affront on capitalist, and if they succeed in blocking this measure much of my faith in this city will be lost. If economic competition can be stifled by lawyers enmeshed in the bureaucracy, we the consumers will be the losers.

Vote with your wallets: Boycott The Hub!

I'm down

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Not that that friggin hole was getting my money anyway, but now they shall never see another cent.

Oldtimer vs Newcomer?

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What does this have to do with anything ? Most 'oldtimers' don't give a hoot, and why wouldn't patronize both places if they felt the desire or need? Obviously the Hub doesn't want competition.

I understand it's a nice byline, attracts attention, and plays into everyone's stereotypes, but everything doesn't come down to 'Newcomer' vs 'Oldtimer'. Townies, oldtimers, newcomers, yuppies, guppies, hipsters, the list is becoming endless and mostly BS.

BTW: I grew up in the city [both Boston and NYC], from a lower socioeconomic background, and buy all kinds of beer, liquor, wine, to suit my tastes at any particular moment. If I feel like cheap stuff, that's what I get. If I see stuff on sale and think it's good deal, I get it. If I want something foo-foo, I get it. I imagine I'm like most people in this regard.

Why I used that dichotomy

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The Hub's owner went into some detail about how she'd been around forever and it's just not fair to a longstanding business to allow competition across the street, while a couple of the people in favor of American Provisions went into some detail about all the new people flooding the neighborhood.

But, yes, as somebody else mentioned, there was at least one longtime resident who spoke in favor of American Provisions (she talked about the Southie of 40 years ago, when you had all these little specialty shops where you'd get your meat, your bread, etc.

Send your emails in support

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Done.

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Dear Members of the Licensing Board,

My name is (MattyC), and I live at (somewhere nearby), South Boston, where I own my home. I would like to voice my complete support for a liquor sales license for American Provisions, at Broadway and I, approximately 4 1/2 blocks from my house. I enjoy their model and I support their business frequently.

If any retailer on Broadway could be expected to respect the community and neighborhood with the use of their license more than these guys, I couldn't name them. Retailers that sell nips and Keno as their main source of business shouldn't be able to stop these gentlemen from selling fine wine and local beer.

Again, they have my full support, and when they have a liquor sales license, they will have even more of my business.

Best regard,
(MattyC)

explain

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explain

Jokers

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"American Provisions submitted signatures of 2,000 people in favor"
How many of those signatures came from people who live in Boston, never mind Southie?
Just like these developers who take the residents of Southie as fools when they submit signatures of people who are not within the 300 foot impact radius of their developments.

Signed it!

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I live in Boston, specifically in Southie. Not only did I sign it, I also wrote a letter in support. Got my 3 friends who also live in the neigborhood and who also love American Provisions to do the same.

4 Southie signatures accounted for, 2996 left.

signed!

i signed it too and i live in southie. i've walked by the Hub 100 times and never stepped foot in there. that's coming from a guy who's happy to drink at the Blackthorne.

I live in Southie and I also

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I live in Southie and I also signed for American Provisions. I've lived in the neighborhood for 5 years, shopped in the hub once, never went back. Dorgan's gets all of my business. Love their 2 for $10 wines for cooking! If AP gets their license it probably won't encourage me to change where I buy my beer and wine, but they should at least have the option to sell it to me.

How Many Is Enough

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I don't patronize either establishment. I've lived here for 55 years. I don't care about this issue as far as the competition goes. My question is: At what point will there be too many licenses?
There is another post on this site about an establishment on Old Colony Ave. looking for a beer & wine license. I hear rumors about the Beer Garden looking to possibly expand it's operation on East Broadway. No doubt there are other businesses thinking along the same lines.
Do we really need anymore places selling booze?
PS-I drink.

These are not new licenses -

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These are not new licenses - just a shift of them going where the people are - What's wrong with giving people a choice on where they drink?

Do we really need anymore places selling booze?

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Do we really need anymore places selling booze?

Sure. More places, and the longer they are open, the less "club sidewalk" problems. You dilute the crowds two fold from having more options, and allowing people to filter out on their own accord instead of all being dumped into the gutter all at once.

Further, zoning and the city / neighborhood can steer and go the extra distance for places like this that won't be swills that only serve drinks and pack patrons in to the brim. Support more lounges, more places like this, and more late night restaurants. Change the nightlife culture from dives to something a bit more relaxed. It's a win for everyone involved.

Ahga

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Did you even read the article? This isn't about a new bar or cocktail lounge.

When are there too many?

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I'll tell you when...when places start going out of business. Until then, let new places open and let the market decide who survives.

Do you honestly believe that more liquor stores encourage people to drink? I'd disagree. I think more options to buy beer and wine encourage price competition, creative marketing, and the need to provide better customer service.

I get what you're saying about bars/liquor licenses and do agree to an extent that there's a saturation point for a neighborhood, as they bring people from outside of the neighborhood to those establishments. As great as AP may be, you aren't going to have lines outside to buy beer, but you will at the Beer Garden, etc...so there is a point where enough is enough. In this case though, it's just about stifling competition.

darn

I wish I had seen this yesterday, as most likely not many will see this comment.

I live within a block of both places, you could say almost across the street. Both places serve their purpose, and both places have been more than friendly, so we can cut the crap about the Hub being some scary "old southie" place. However, I'm somewhat torn between the two.

I am friends with the guys who run AP, so I support what they want to do, and don't see any issue with them hurting business for the Hub, although I have no idea where they will be selling this stuff, that place is already jam packed inside! On the other side, the Hub already sells most/all of the products AP wants to sell (maybe not the wines, but surely the beers). Lastly, given how local distributors like to play favorites and "tough guy" with the local stores over which craft beers they will get, I think it might be harder than expected for AP to carry the products they want to.

The lady from the Hub has been out front every Sat soliciting signatures from anyone walking down the street, while AP's petition never moved from the counter.

So why are you torn?

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You like both places, you think both can survive, and you aren't even sure it will work for AP?

Bottom line, the idea that people shouldn't support (or the City allow) AP to sell beer and wine because The Hub has been around a long time is just wrong. Using that reasoning, the Paramount shouldn't have been allowed to open on E. Broadway because the Beer Garden was there first and it might hurt their business. Guess what? Work harder, price competitively, and win new business and you have nothing to worry about! I honestly can't believe anyone would sign that woman's petition basically saying "help me save my business from competition". Only in Boston.

I haven't been to The Hub in

I haven't been to The Hub in a while, but do they really have a big selection of specialty/craft beers? I'm honestly curious - I don't recall seeing local brewers there (Nightshift, Idle Hands, Pretty Things, etc) or a big selection of Belgian beers. Am I wrong? If I am, it will definitely be interesting to see who "wins" the distribution battle.

Answer: No.

Answer: No.

They have Shipyard, but that's as craft as they get (which isn't very craft all).

As for wine, need I really explain? The number #1 draw to the Hub is Keno. Paul Mason is most likely their primary wine brand.

Nothing wrong with The Hub's business model by the way; my point is the customers American Provisions pick up will most likely be siphoned from Social Wines, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc. There's plenty of business to go around, the mere fact that she is attempting to rig the free market process infuriates me.

That was my assumption, but

That was my assumption, but since I hadn't been in The Hub in a while I didn't want to jump to conclusions. It doesn't seem to me that they'll serve the same market at all and shouldn't have any problems with battling distribution. And hopefully AP will also be able to sell some fortified wines, vermouths, and cordials in addition. I remember a few years ago hitting every booze store in Southie looking for Pimm's, to no avail.

And yes…there is no reason to try and hinder the free market.

actually

you obviously haven't been in there in a while.

The Hub has the full range of Pretty Things, most of Maine Beer Co, and a ton more stuff, just to name a few. Their prices are a bit high though, so it will be interesting to see what happens if AP gets their license too.

They also have a pretty sizable selection of wine, and very competitive booze prices.

Great!

They should be positioned well to maintain their customers once competition is introduced ;-)

Although I doubt they will garner many new customers, given the exposure of their Marxist plot to suppress the competition.

Imagine if there was this

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Imagine if there was this much passion for improving Boston Public Schools.

Imagine

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Let's face it. Most of the people in favor of AP's petition aren't going to be around here to send their kids to the schools in South Boston. Most are just passing through.

Actually that is not true.

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Actually that is not true. There are two yuppie families on my street alone that send their kids to boston public elementary schools in the neighborhood.

We've gentrified Southie, now boston public schools are next!

- The Original South Boston Yuppie (well before the "Overlord").

Could be worse

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At least we're not debating whether the body of a murder victim hit the ground in Roxbury or the South End.

Approved!

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American Provisions 1 - HUB 0

Board made the right decision! - Another license was also granted in South Boston to the Urban Art Bar on Old Colony...

rejoice

Now go grab a blunt and a beer and have a chill night