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Braintree keeps its ban on selling beer by the pitcher

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  July 25, 2012 03:23 PM

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With no requests for change at this week's licensing board meeting, Braintree will keep its policy of banning the sale of beer by the pitcher.

Unlike state law, which allows the sale of beer by the pitcher to a group of two or more, Braintree doesn’t allow the sale of pitchers at all.

While town officials had said they would be willing to consider relaxing the policy [see earlier story], no business owners came forward at Tuesday's meeting of the Board of License Commissioners to request a change.

As a result, board members said they would keep the policy as is.

“The reason we were planning on having the discussion was a few establishments reached out to me in conversation inquiring about the difference in Braintree’s regulation and in other communities and what the state allows. That’s what led to the potential discussion on that item,” said Joe Powers, Braintree town clerk and chair of the licensing board.

“There were four licensed establishments that had reps there, but not one person was willing to come forward to offer thoughts if they wanted this change to occur and if they saw value to it. So the board took no action and the previous regulation remains in full force and effect.”

The topic came up after Powers had sent out a reminder to Braintree establishments of the no-pitcher policy.

According to Powers, some establishments were unknowingly violating the practice, most likely because Braintree’s policy differs from that in other surrounding communities where the restaurants had locations.

“It was quite surprising that there was no discussion whatsoever despite the offer,'' Powers said. "The net effect is the regulation has been confirmed. It remains in effect. So now if there are establishments that are serving by pitcher, they are against regulation, and if anything goes to the board we would have to go through the violation process."

Since the reminder was released, Powers said there have been no subsequent violations.

Additionally, liquor licensed establishments were asked to confirm that they had received and read a copy of the memo, and many places in Braintree have done so.

Overall, although there is a perception that Braintree’s liquor license laws are stricter than the state’s, the pitcher policy is the only instance in which that is the case, Powers said.

“The reality is we match up with communities, but it’s a legacy with a reputation. Braintree banned happy hour before the state moved on that. Having that 30-year ban on service by pitcher… and I do hear it conversationally, you can't go to Braintree and get a pitcher of beer. But there are some towns where you cant get anything. We’re not a dry town,” Powers said. “People believe we’re more restrictive, but except in one instance, we’re really not.”

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