Haverhill Liquor License Commission to Consider BYOB Permits

Haverhill is considering issuing “bring your own bottle”—or BYOB—licenses for certain businesses.

Haverhill liquor license commissioners voted last night to name a special committee to study the matter after a local business owner said she cannot afford the traditional liquor license and associated expenses. Shawna Kelley of Artmosphere, formerly the Paint and Wine Lounge, 57 Wingate St., told commissioners she will not renew her liquor license at the end of the year.

“I need to change my business mode to survive in Haverhill,” Kelley wrote in a letter to commissioners. She said the liquor license cost is only part of the problem, explaining liability insurance and a state requirement that liquor be purchased from distributors add to her expenses.

“License and purchasing from the wholesaler is actually more money than I make selling alcohol,” Kelley said.

Chairman Joseph C. Edwards named Commissioners Gerald A. Sewell and Tim Coco to take testimony from the public, police, other business owners, insurance representatives and others. The special committee will make recommendations to be considered at a public hearing in January.

“We are certainly business friendly. We want to do what we can to help people succeed with their business,” Edwards said. However, he added, he would like see any such license be limited to arts-related businesses.

Edwards said the license commission prohibited BYOB licenses in Haverhill about 16 years ago. Haverhill Police Captain Robert P. Pistone said the police department wants to see enough controls and regulations on any future BYOB license to curb possible abuses. Pistone said Marblehead’s BYOB rules might serve as a good model.

The special committee is tentatively scheduled to meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 17, City Hall, room 301.

4 thoughts on “Haverhill Liquor License Commission to Consider BYOB Permits

  1. It should not include restaurants. What about he restaurants who are abiding the rules…Lets penalize them and give a break to those who don’t?
    I don’t really have an issue with this change in city ordinance but lets be real, she knew the expenses associated with running a business, she knew of their liquor laws (like them or not) and she knew that running a business can be a costly and now when things are costing her than her business plan estimated she sends a letter to commission looking for a rule change.
    Is this practice of changing the rules to conform going to continue in city government? If so lets abolish the committees and commission.
    Once we do that we can continue handing out trophies to everybody and say thanks for participating.

  2. I think this is a great idea, but it shouldn’t be ‘ limited to arts-related businesses.’ Smaller restaurants could benefit from such licenses, too.