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.