Councilor wants to let Boston breweries sell other breweries' brews

Councilor Annissa Essaibi George will be asking other councilors to hop on a proposal to let the city's burgeoning crop of breweries expand their offerings to include products from their ostensible rivals.

Essaibi George said the idea could be a way to ensure the "sudden pop up of these very cool breweries" can survive.

"As great as [one brewery's] beer can be, it does often create a barrier for those breweries to be stable and successful over the long term," she said of the current limitation, set by the state for the specific licenses for breweries and distilleries.

She said her idea would be similar to restaurants that offer house wines - and also other wines for people not interested in the house offerings.

Essabi George hopes to bottle up her proposed change - which would require action by the state legislature - with a proposal by Councilor Ayanna Pressley (at large) to win at least 153 new liquor licenses for Boston. Pressley's proposal is aimed at restaurants and bars, in particular in outer neighborhoods; Essaibi George said she would codify her request in time for the required hearing on Pressley's proposal.

Three other councilors also suggested amendments to Pressley's proposal, but related specifically to bars and restaurants. Pressley's plan would set aside a bank of licenses for the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, East Boston and Hyde Park, which Pressley has argued have been particularly hard hit by the flight of liquor licenses to large restaurants with money to burn along the Waterfront and in the North End, Back Bay and downtown.

Councilor Lydia Edwards (Charlestown, East Boston, North End) said she would ask that some licenses be carved out specifically for Charlestown. Councilor Tim McCarthy (Roslindale, Hyde Park, Mattapan) said he would ask the same for Roslindale. And Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain) said he wants West Roxbury to be included. O'Malley recalled that when he first ran for his seat in 2010, people complained that West Roxbury had too many banks and not enough restaurants; he added that although the ratio has improved, West Roxbury could still deal with more restaurants.

Pressley's proposal would also create a dedicated pool of licenses for the city's 20 main-street districts, which include Roslindale Square and Centre and Spring streets in West Roxbury - but not areas along Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale and the VFW Parkway in West Roxbury where restaurants are also allowed.

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Comments

Sounds absolutely reasonable

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Which is why it will probably never happen.

(and like taxis - why limit these licenses? I get that bars etc. have to live up to certain standards, but other than that - why does the city get to dictate supply to the market? All sounds very communist master plan to me)

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I'm sure you know the answer

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Once the legislature gets power over something, it refuses to give it up, even if the original reason was blatant ethnic hatred a century ago.

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Voting is closed. 39

Why are the

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areas outside the neighborhood Main Streets Programs again being excluded from this proposed liquor license expansion? It caused a huge problem for Seven Star Bistro, which eventually shut down and it's not fair to the restaurant owners who are a little further afield.

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Voting is closed. 35

And main-street districts themselves were a compromise

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Pressley's original proposal was just to get new licenses for Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury, under the theory they had lost a lot of their licenses to better financed places downtown and on the waterfront and that there was no way somebody who wanted to start a restaurant in one of those neighborhoods could afford the $350,000 or so cost of a full liquor license (or the cost of a beer-and-wine license, which I think at its peak was around $85,000).

She still makes that argument, modified this time by setting aside a specific number of licenses for each neighborhood (9, I think), to deal with the Mattapan issue (i.e., even with the new licenses, nobody in Mattapan applied for one), and adding East Boston and Hyde Park as places that might benefit from having dedicated licenses to spur restaurant entrepreneurs.

Yeah, what happened to 7 Star was a shame (not just on the liquor front; it took him months just to get on the zoning-board agenda because of a stupid ordinanc that that board had to approve all take-out places - even if they were taking the place of take-out places the board had already approved), but I suspect somebody looking at this citywide would not know about the vagaries of Roslindale, i.e., that 7 Star was exactly the sort of place the new licenses should've been meant for - a young entrepreneur trying to kick-start something in a relatively forlorn area (which, in terms of sit-down restaurants is just what that stretch of Belgrade is).

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Good work, Annissa

Preface: I've met Annissa chief of staff, Alana Olsen. She's a great Allstonian who works incredibly hard and doesn't back down when I debate her on issues. Mad respect.

I only wish Annissa had been this keen on markets a couple of weeks ago when she went out of her way to oppose that housing in Southie that I read about on UH.

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Voting is closed. 27

Never gonna happen

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The only way this could is if the legislature forces the breweries to use the local beer distributer monolith to distribute the beer between the local breweries which drastically changes the cost. Those guys have VERY deep pockets and their phony baloney jobs to protect, as do the legislators.

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It could be worse

If the distributors had their way, the breweries would be required to use them to move the kegs from the brewroom to the taproom.

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Not necessarily

Night Shift starting a distribution company for the sole purpose of providing small breweries the opportunity to sell their beers in more markets. I don't know what their distribution rates are but if I were Annissa I would be suggesting to local breweries to give them a call.

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Arrgh

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That comment is unbeerable.

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Hmmmm

Not sure if I should hop on this pun wagon or not. It could cascade out of control and fuggle up the discussion.

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I'll hops on board...

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mmm, that was barley a good pun...At yeast I tried.

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I know of a brewery that

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I know of a brewery that already does this, so... I don't see what needs to change?

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In Boston?

I know a lot of breweries that have guest taps, but none are in Boston.

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Dorchester Brewery

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Dorchester Brewery I'm pretty sure already does this...

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They do!

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I got the tour - they said they do in the tour.

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Sure

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We can also tell Shaws markets to feature Roche Bros labeled products, and Star can feature Market Basket products.

Of course Shell can have a separate pump for Mobil gas and vice versa.

Or maybe Shanti (Indian cuisine) in Roslindale can have Nappers just pop over with their steak tips when ordered, or a pizza from the Pleasant.

I see lots of issues here.

I could see if there was a cooperative voluntary agreement in place between businesses but not a specific regulation.

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Voting is closed. 34

Isn't this just ... a regular

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Isn't this just ... a regular bar?

I'm not against it, the current system is stupid on a zillion levels and if this works, cool.

But it still sounds like just a bar.

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for many reasons, not a bar.

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Breweries are not bars. They are manufacturing sites where you're able to try and buy the product on-site. Note how they are not like bars because they are not required to also sell food. Also, bars don't let you actually take anything home with you, whereas breweries can send you off on your way with a collection of cans and bottles filled with product.

This is a great idea because there are many upstart breweries that don't have the capacity, space, licensing, etc. to do tastings and sell product at their own manufacturing site. But if, say, Turtle Swamp in JP had an even smaller brewery do a popup, this smaller brewery would be able to let people try and buy product, and boost their image. Perhaps by getting their name out, this smaller brewery would even be able to open their own larger space where customers can try and buy.

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