Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Our fair Wellesley quietly held town elections yesterday and included a single important but confusingly worded ballot question:
"Shall an act passed by the general court in the year 2014, entitled 'An Act authorizing the town of Wellesley to place a question on the town election ballot authorizing the town to grant 6 licenses for the sale of wines and malt beverages not to be drunk on the premises', be accepted?"
I had to reach out to Townsman reporter Jordan Mayblum for clarity on what this measure would mean if approved. He clarified that its passage would allow the town to issue licenses to as many as six grocery stores in Wellesley to sell beer and wine.
The results are in and the response was overwhelmingly positive: 2,248 "yes" to 336 "no".
So where do we go from here?
The grocery store behind the passage of this initiative was Fells Market. It's my walking-distance go-to spot for sandwiches, steak tips and more and I'm looking forward to them selling wine as I'm sure many in our neighborhood are:
Katsikaris said Fells Market would prob focus on wine w/ some craft beer. (And Yuengling, because I asked about it specifically)#WellesleyI think they could do a bang-up special order business. And they could probably do really well with focused email offers too thanks to their super-convenient location to thirsty townspeople.
— Jordan R. Mayblum (@TownsmanJordan) March 5, 2014
But what about Whole Foods and Roche Bros?
Changes at the state level play into the dynamics of which other stores in town will likely apply for licenses. Back in 2011 laws limiting the number of liquor licenses any given entity can hold changed and the following schedule will allow grocery store chains to sell liquor at more of their locations:
- 2011: 3 licenses per corporation
- 2012: 5 licenses
- 2016: 7 licenses
- 2020: 9 licenses
Roche Bros supermarket does seem like a likely candidate however given that the Wellesley location is one of their newer and larger stores.
But I think the most interesting development here is yet to come. I think this paves the way for an exciting new gourmet grocer or two to make a play here in town. I wrote this for The Swellesley Report in 2012:
It's rare to get an opportunity to cover a truly Wellesley wine-related topic here on The Wellesley Wine Press. But isn't it comforting to know this important coverage exists? ;) I'd love it if you subscribed to the site to keep up with future developments. If Wellesley isn't exactly on your radar screen maybe you'll enjoy this slideshow of the Best (and Worst) Wines to Buy Now at Trader Joe's. Or this list of grocery stores in Massachusetts that already sell wine.