10 seek Needham liquor licenses

Ten businesses have applied for licenses to sell packaged alcohol in Needham. But no more than six – and likely fewer – will leave the process getting what they want.

That’s because the ballot measure overwhelmingly approved by voters last November limits the number of Needham’s first-time licenses to six stores.

Two additional wine and beer store licenses can be added to the mix but not until 2018.

The businesses and locations  that submitted their applications in time to meet a deadline imposed by Needham Selectmen are: Needham Wine & Spirits (1257 Highland Avenue), Needham Center Wine & Spirits (1013 Great Plain Avenue), Craft Liquors of Needham (922-932 Great Plain Avenue), Blanchard’s Wine & Spirits (679 Highland Avenue), Volante Farm (292 Forest Avenue, beer and wine license only), Gordon’s Fine Wine & Liquors (855 Highland Avenue), Needham Ave Wine & Spirits (33 Highland Avenue), Vinodivino (922 Highland Avenue), Panella’s Market & Deli (50 Central Avenue, beer and wine license only) and Bin Ends (65 Crawford Street).

Missing from the last is Craft Beer Cellar of Belmont, which had been expressing interest in expanding into Needham since August of last year but reportedly submitted an incomplete application because it did not include a location for the store.

Needham Selectman will hold a day long public hearing on the applications on Feb.2, beginning at 8 a.m. at Town Hall. and will begin deliberations on Feb. 5, Selectman Dan Matthews said.

While the measure allows selectman to award six licenses,  Matthews said they’re likely to award fewer.

“Some board members have made general statements that they don’t want to issue all six of the licenses in the first round,” Matthews said.

The new retail alcohol regulations allow for offsite delivery of alcohol, but require businesses keep a record of all deliveries.

Grocery stores are not allowed to sell liquor; they can only sell wine and beer. Store employees must be 18 years or older to handle alcohol, but can only sell it with a manager’s approval.

Voters approved the measure to allow packaged liquor stores with 72 percent in favor and 27 percent opposed.

–Greg Reibman