By Brenda Crowell
The Select Board voted to allow the transfer of the Common Victualler All Alcoholic Beverages license held by Richard’s Food and Drink to the Greater Milford Social Club at the Board’s February 28 meeting after questions concerning whether the license should be given to a private organization were addressed.
Three establishments – Emporium Brazil, Isabel’s, and Casa Brasil – applied for the town’s two available Common Victualler All Alcoholic Beverages licenses. After each organization addressed the Board, the licenses were awarded to Isabel’s and to Casa Brasil.
Greater Milford Social Club members Patrick Holland and Tom Parente, who is the bar manager at the Club, appeared at the meeting to request the transfer of the license held by Richard’s Food and Drink.
“The Greater Milford Social Club has been in possession of a seasonal all alcohol beverage license for approximately three years,” Holland said. “During those three years, there have been no police responses and there have been no violations of the license in any way whatsoever.”
Holland said that the Greater Milford Social Club had recently entered into a purchase and sale agreement to purchase the existing license for $17,000.
“We would surrender the license that we presently have. The club has no reason to possess two alcoholic beverage licenses,” said Holland. “Presently our seasonal license requires us to close for January, February, and March, and the annual license will not require us to close for those three months. One of the major drives behind the formation of this club was to have a charitable impact on our town, and it makes it more difficult for us to raise money for charities during this time of year when we don’t have a space within which we can function.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the charities that we donate to, helping the community,” Parente added. “We’re looking to be able to progress a little more doing that.”
Selectman Paul Mazzuchelli noted that the Greater Milford Social Club has been serving alcohol for more than a century, saying, “I just feel as though they’ve proven themselves, their sustainability to have a license such as this.”
However, Milford resident Jamie Wheelock questioned whether the license should be granted to a private organization rather than a public business.
“The current seasonal license they have is adequate for that private club to operate, and the limited number of full licenses that are available to town deserve to be of use for enterprises that are open to the public,” Wheelock said. “The number of people directly involved in the ownership of the Greater Milford Social Club that understand the urgent goal of revitalization of downtown Milford and yet are unwilling to make a full license available toward the larger restaurant establishment community seems rather self-serving from where I stand.”
Mazzuchelli explained that since the license in question is an existing one, rather than a new one, and is being transferred, the decision of who would receive it is up to the current owner of the license.
“If this was one of the new available Common Victualler All Alcoholic Beverages licenses, then I would be a little hesitant on going along with this transfer as well, but it’s not,” Mazzuchelli said. “We would favor the businesses over a private club, of course, and that’s what we should do. But this is a business transaction between two private parties for mutual benefits.”
“This is not one of the licenses that’s available,” added Selectman Thomas O’Loughlin. “We’re not in a position to deny him solely because we want to step in the middle of that business transaction. We don’t have that authority.”