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Outdoor Seating, Alcohol Pitcher and Deals Reminder for Braintree Businesses

The License Board on Tuesday also held a hearing on the Knights of Columbus all-alcohol license. Tune in to Patch for more on that and other stories.

Businesses in Braintree licensed to sell alcohol and serve food will soon receive a letter from town officials reminding them of local and state regulations surrounding the sale of beer pitchers, discounted alcohol and outdoor seating.

Joe Powers, chair of the Board of License Commissioners, said on Tuesday afternoon that the notice will go out following several instances of improper activity by local establishments.

He would not specifiy which businesses were involved, but said at least two were serving pitchers of alcohol despite Braintree regulations forbidding it, and that others had placed seats and tables outdoors without going through the proper procedures. Also, in at least one location, buckets of beer featuring price deals have been sold, which is not allowed under Massachusetts law because it is a form of alcohol discounting, Powers said.

Some of the town's chain restaurants – which are allowed to sell beer pitchers outside of Braintree – asked Powers if they could meet to discuss that local regulation, he said, and so the item will be placed on the agenda for the July 24 meeting of the board.

The Braintree-specific regulations outlawing beer pitchers and happy hours took effect in 1984, according to an Associated Press report from that year. Braintree followed Framingham, which was the first Massachusetts town to forbid happy hours in 1982.

The change occurred after a Weymouth woman was killed in an alcohol-related car accident. The AP reported that the driver had been served three free mugs of beer that night at the Ground Round and pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter.

Last fall, state senators Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth, and James Timilty, D-Walpole, set off a heated discussion in Massachusetts about reinstating happy hours as part of the plan to bring casinos to the state. They later adjusted their proposal to include a year-long review of discounted alcohol by the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, according to the Patriot Ledger.

The information about the letter was provided at the end of a license board meeting that also involved members hitting the Knights of Columbus with a suspended sentence over an alcohol-related incident last month. They also approved food and flammable storage licenses for two separate businesses. More on those stories this week. 

Correction: The establishments found to have been serving pitchers were serving an alcoholic beverage, not beer.

Sean July 11, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I had a pitcher of sangria at Bertuccis last night
ovaltine0827 July 11, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I understand the thought process behind the regulation but what's the difference between serving a pitcher of beer versus a bottle of wine? Cost?
Angela Nuss July 11, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Good question, ovaltine0827! While I do not drink, I sometimes do wonder why you can't order a pitcher of beer, especially if there is a group of people at the same table drinking the same beer. Perhaps it is the cost but I think it's the overall consumption. Not sure how many "bottles" are in a pitcher but I do realize it's harder to count "how many drinks" you've had unless you count the glasses (i.e. 3 8-oz glasses). Better to know than not know?
Joe Dauria July 25, 2012 at 02:24 PM
If it's a one gallon pitcher, that equals 10.67 bottles, not factoring foam and spillage. Part of the issue is if two people order a pitcher and one person has one glass while the other drinks the rest of it, then most likely that person is going to be legally drunk. How do you make sure people are splitting it.? By forcing them to order one bottle at a time, not only do you know how many they have had, but then you waitstaff can visible judge whether they should be shut off.

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