LETTER: Select Board’s brewery vote disappointing

To the editor: 

Did you know between 2010 and 2021 there was over a 500% increase in small-scale, craft breweries? New England is home to more than 600 craft breweries, the Commonwealth accounting for just over 200 including brewpubs, farm breweries and manufacturers. The North Shore touts well over 20 breweries — Salem with two and Beverly with five, but Marblehead zero.  

Since moving to Marblehead in August of 2020, my family and I have made it a point to explore the area. We’re constantly walking around town, searching for an outdoor patio where we can post up with our stroller and dog for a beer (spoiler alert, options are verrry limited). On weekends we travel to neighboring towns, using new breweries as a reason to explore the area. I was disappointed to hear the Select Board recently voted against bringing a new brewery to town, and shocked to learn it was because an 11-seat hotel bar is being rewarded the liquor license. 

Yes, I understand the Marblehead Hotel will likely see an influx of guests following the opening of The Mariner. As their lawyer stated: “Families are going to come; they’re going to stay at the hotel and visit their family…” But using that as the primary reason why they need a liquor license is weak. Per the Marnier’s website, the facility will boast a pub and full-service restaurant. 

Did anyone on the Select Board ask to see revenue projections? I find it hard to believe an 11-seat bar will bring in more revenue than a 120-seat (indoor) and 450-square-foot outdoor patio. Did anyone on the Select Board ask about how many jobs the new opportunity would offer –  one to two or five to 10? Fine if you want to reward a liquor license to an existing business, but why stop there? 

A new liquor license in Massachusetts costs between $200-$500. In this economy, we should be saying yes to any new opportunity that will drive revenue, increase foot traffic and offer jobs in our town. Can we please start the process of requesting an additional license to support Hopothecary Ales Taproom? 

Anne McCabe

Baldwin Road

Letter to the editor
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