Wine Superstore Considering Appeal After ABCC Denial

The Braintree Forum reports that a business called Wine Nation may appeal to the Superior Court an ABCC decision upholding the town of Braintree’s decision to deny the wine “superstore” an all-alcohol license.

Maryland businessman Thomas Trone is seeking to open Wine Nation, a 21,000-square-foot “wine superstore” that would have about 50 employees, in the empty building on 160 Granite St., formerly occupied by Linens n’ Things. Trone, represented by Gerald Caruso, asked the ABCC to review the town of Braintree’s decision denying his application.

Trone argued that Wine Nation was denied a license due to inaccurate information about traffic, invalid concern about competition, and bias shown by officials, but in its nine-page Sept. 14 ruling, the ABCC found that the board acted within the law and its authority.

“A local board holds broad discretion to determine whether a license to sell alcoholic beverages shall issue,” the commission wrote. “The Appeals Court has held that a local board may deny a license even if the facts show that a license could be lawfully granted. A local board exercises very broad judgment about public convenience and public good with respect to whether to issue a license to sell alcoholic beverages.”

The decision concluded, “In this case before the commission, the Braintree local board fulfilled its obligation to state the reasons for its decision. On the basis of the opposition to the application, the Braintree board was persuaded that there was no public need for the license for which the application was filed. The reasons for denial were based on the facts found by the local board based on information presented during the course of the public hearing. Based on the exhibits and testimony by members of the local board, the commission approves the action of the local board in denying the application.”

Under state law, the ABCC’s ruling may be appealed to Superior Court within 30 days.

Trone recently opened a Wine Nation store in Millbury. State law limits the number of licenses to three (3) that any one business can own for premises where liquor cannot be consumed on the premises, such as a wine store or supermarket.