Mass. Butcher Shop Seeks Beer and Wine License on Appeal

Unusual story out of Chelmsford about a local meat shop seeking a wine and beer license from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) after being denied by the town in a close 3-2 decision. Len Carpenter, owner of The Meat House in Chelmsford, was to appear before the ABCC on Aug. 4 to state his case in favor of the permit. If granted, The Meat House will sell wine and beer tailored to specific meals.

Carpenter told the Chelmsford weekly that his franchised establishments seeks licenses if they are available. Franchises in Walpole and North Andover do not have a license because they are located either adjacent to a liquor store or in the same plaza as a liquor store. The Arlington location is tiny and there were no licenses available in Beverly.

The one town to grant The Meat House a liquor license: Brookline. “We did think it was an unusual request,” Betsy DeWitt, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, was quoted as saying . “Their argument, which we can’t test yet, has been that they would be selling fresh meat and they would be selling specialty foods and wanted to sell the wine that would be consumed alongside a meal.”

DeWitt said the town had an available package store license and the applicant’s proposed matched those for a package store license.

The Brookline board is now reviewing all policies for licensing and making sure it corresponds with town bylaws. After hearing public outcry about their denial of a license to The Meat House, Chelmsford Selectmen are undertaking a similar task with selectmen Eric Dahlberg and Matt Hanson heading up a subcommittee to review licensing precedents.