Gov. Baker signs law granting Easthampton 8 new liquor licenses

Jun 10 2016

liquorEASTHAMPTON — Governor Charlie Baker signed a piece of legislation Friday granting Easthampton eight new all-pour restaurant liquor licenses.

“It’s very exciting,” said Mayor Karen Cadieux. “We’re hoping this will be a catalyst for economic development.” Cadieux said her office receives phone calls “all the time” from potential restaurant owners, asking if liquor licenses are available.

The City Council in November, after two evenings of debate and various committee discussions, voted to petition the Legislature for the licenses.

“It was a pleasure to work the city in order to support growth in the local economy and draw more visitors to downtown Easthampton,” said Sen. Don Humason, R-Westfield, who introduced the measure. “I look forward to seeing the results of these new licenses in the months to come.”

The bill’s language gives “highest preference to establishments located in the mill industrial zone and the downtown business zone in the city of Easthampton,” although it’s not clear what process the city’s Licensing Board will use to implement that provision. There is no requirement that the licenses be tied to food service.

Who holds Easthampton’s 41 liquor licenses? (photos)

In Massachusetts cities and towns, liquor licenses are limited according to a population-based formula. Easthampton is already over-quota, meaning the additional licenses could only be issued through special legislation.

Existing or potential restaurant or bar owners will have to apply to the Licensing Board in order to be considered for the licenses. All licenses must then be approved by the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, a process that sometimes takes months.

The over-quota licenses, once granted, can not be transferred to a new location. However, they can be transferred to a new applicant at the same location.

In all, city businesses hold 41 liquor licenses distributed among restaurants, bars, package stores, clubs and more.

 

Twenty-three of those licenses are “all-pour” permits, five are for beer and wine only, three are “farmer-brewer” malt licenses, and the rest are for stores. Shelburne Falls Coffee on Union holds a seasonal beer and wine license. Tandem Bagel Company on Railroad Street also recently applied for a seasonal license.

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