February 19 2019

State Rejects Burlington Selectmen’s Decision to Revoke Beer Works Liquor License

By: Rich Hosford

A decision by the Burlington Board of Selectmen to revoke the Burlington Beer Works’ (under the entity Slesar Bros. Brewing Company) liquor license due to a long period of inactivity has been overturned by the state.

The Massachusetts Alcohol Beverage Compliance Commission (ABCC) said in a decision following a January 10 hearing that the town did not give the licensee sufficient time to either start operating its business or to attempt to transfer it to another entity. According to ABCC regulations the license authority, in the case the selectmen, must give six months warning.

Based on the evidence, the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission DISAPPROVES the action of the Town of Burlington Licensing Board for cancelling the all alcoholic beverages license of Slesar Brothers Brewing Company, Inc. d/b/a Burlington Beer Works for non-use pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 138, 8 77,” the ABCC said in its decision.  

As reported on BNEWS, the Board of Selectmen in September of last year voted to revoke the license after warning the business in January that it either had to start operating its business in the Crossroads Plaza at 34 Cambridge Street or transfer the license to a viable third party or face revocation.

This would seem to meet the requirements of the ABCC but in the decision they said that because the selectmen closed the public hearing on January 22 and did not revoke the license during that hearing its closing also meant the Licensee's notice of the possibility of revocation/cancellation was also closed.

On August 3 of last year the board gave the licensee notice of the September 10 hearing on the assumption that it was more than six month after the January meeting. However, as stated, the ABCC did not consider the January meeting a valid warning of revocation in its decision on the matter.

Town Administrator John Petrin said another hearing is being scheduled for March for the Board of Selectmen to consider further actions. However, any decision to revoke the license, which has gone unused since it was issued in November of 2015, will have to wait another six months. In that time the business could try and transfer it to the third party.

During the revocation hearing attorney Paul Sporn, representing Slesar Brothers, said the project was stalled due to changes at Crossroads Plaza. He argued that they signed up to be a tenant before changes such as Roche Bros. closing and Target moving in and that the Target construction would have impacted their first year of business if they opened as originally planned.

“Somewhere at the beginning of this year it did lose the business momentum,” he said of the project.



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