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3 Reading Liquor Sellers Penalized for Sale to Minor

The Wine Shop, Wine Bunker and Sam’s Bistro will have their liquor licenses suspended for a short period of time.

Three Reading businesses that sell liquor received penalties Tuesday for selling to a minor under age 21.

The Board of Selectmen imposed no-liquor sales times at The Wine Shop of Reading (Reading Fine Wines, LLC) at 676 Main St., the Wine Bunker (CW1 Ltd.) at 1 General Way and Sam’s Bistro (Bistro Concepts, Inc.) at 107 Main St.

The Wine Shop’s liquor license will be suspended for five days:  this coming Monday, through Wednesday, Oct. 22, 23 and 24 and this coming Jan. 7 and 8. The Wine Shop received a three-day suspension in 2011, the selectmen noted, about a year ago.

The Wine Bunker cannot sell alcohol for three days: this coming Sunday, Oct 21 through Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Sam’s Bistro cannot sell alcohol this coming Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 22 through Oct. 24.

These three businesses sold alcohol to a minor during alcohol compliance checks last month, by the Reading Police Department. Sgt. Mark Segalla presented the reports on each incident.

None of the three business owners contested the finding. The owners said they were embarrassed, apologetic and angry that one of their employees sold liquor to a minor.

The selectmen imposed the alcohol restriction after discussing possible dates with each business owner. Robert Carp from the Wine Shop asked the selectmen to impose the penalty in the New Year, rather than this month or November or December, which he described as the store’s busiest months. Carp told the selectmen that he is in the process of selling the shop because of his ill health. The selectmen split the penalty, three days this month and two in January.

Over the past five years, an effort spearheaded by Reading police and town and school leaders, working with (the) Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse, has worked “to improve local liquor policy responsible beverage service education, training, and alcohol enforcement,” according to the police department.

“These efforts led to improvements in our local compliance rate.”

“Communities like Reading that have reduced the availability of alcohol to underage drinkers have experienced fewer crashes and fewer crimes.” The Reading Police Department will continue to monitor local liquor establishments.

The Board of Selectmen developed penalty guidelines: for a first offense, a warning to a three-day suspension, for example, and a three to six-day suspension for a second offense.

The votes on all of the penalties: 3-0. Selectmen Stephen Goldy, Ben Tafoya and Richard Schubert all voted yes.

The board hates to do this, Goldy said, but “The message is key.”

Nineteen liquor-selling establishments were found to be “100 percent compliant” during the compliance checks, according to the police department.

They are: American Legion Post 62; Bangkok Spice Thai Restaurant; Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant; Busa’s Reading Liquors; Café Capri; Chili’s Grill and Bar; Fuddruckers; Grumpy Doyle’s; the Knights of Columbus; Longhorn Steak House; Mandarin Reading Restaurant; Meadow Brook Golf Club; Northside Liquors; Oye’s Restaurant; Reading Overseas Veterans; Ristorante Pavarotti; Romano’s Macaroni Grill; Square Liquors and Venetian Moon Restaurant.

Last year, 25 percent of the town’s liquor-selling establishments failed the compliance check, according to Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner.

Funding for this year’s compliance checks came, according to the police department, from a 2012 Underage Alcohol Enforcement Grant Program from the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Joe Veno October 18, 2012 at 10:26 AM
It sure was nice of the Selectmen to suspend the licenses during the week when the businesses are not that busy. If they were suspended over the weekend it would have more impact. Also the Wine Bunker is in there for a second time and they get to split the suspension.
Mr White October 18, 2012 at 11:43 AM
@ Joe Veno You may want to actually read the entire article before commenting and passing judgement. I'd say you owe a retraction and an apology. -Mr White
M October 18, 2012 at 01:04 PM
I think Joe made an honest mistake in saying the wine bunker instead of the wine shop. He's right about it being the second time a given business has had this issue within year. He's also right in that having the suspensions being on the weekend when they are busiest would be more meaningful...the many customers there on the weekend would have to ask why the business cannot sell/serve liquor and the business would have to tell them. It is good, anyway, to hear of so many businesses that were 100% compliant, as I see that quite a few of them (e.g., Venetian Moon, K of C, Legion Post, veterans) probably serve more alcohol than food.
Joe Veno October 18, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I do apologize to the Wine Bunker. I ment that comment about being in violation for a second time for the Wine Shop. Also Mr. White I did read the entire article before commenting. it was an honest mistake.
Joe Veno October 18, 2012 at 04:19 PM
I do apologize to the Wine Bunker. I ment that comment about being in violation for a second time for the Wine Shop. Also Mr. White I did read the entire article before commenting. it was an honest mistake.
Tom MacKinnon October 18, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Ok,so the Wine Shop cannot sell liquor on Mon, Tues and Wed, this coming week and on Mon and Tues Jan 7 & 8,The Wine Bukner cannot sell on Mon,Tues and Wed this coming week,and Sams Bistro cannot sell on Mon,Tues or Wed this coming week.Does this seem like a punishment???Cant sell liquor on the three SLOWEST days of the week???If you really want to make these establishments sit up and take notice, suspend their right to sell liquor on Thurs,Fri and Sat,Their bussiest times....Then they'll be sure not to serve to minors again!!!!!
CommonSenseCitizen October 18, 2012 at 05:39 PM
The last time the Wine Shop was suspended for the same thing they hung a sign in the door that said "Closed while we do inventory" and simply didn't open for business. Perhaps it was true and they were doing inventory. But it seems to me a more effective punishment would be too ban the sale as they are doing, but also force the store to display a prominent sign stating the reason so that everyone is aware. Shame is a very effective tool. As for the 100% compliance, I doubt any place is. A few years ago, we would go to a certain Reading restaurant a lot because they'd serve our two friends who were only 18. This restaurant has never been caught. Perhaps they've tightened up on their practices since then, but we'd go there a couple times each week for close to a year without any trouble.
Joe Veno October 18, 2012 at 07:09 PM
@ Tom I agree with you 100%
Emily M October 18, 2012 at 08:17 PM
They should suspend the liquor licenses on weekends when the Pats are playing.
SMS October 18, 2012 at 08:24 PM
When the Wine Shop had a violation, the owner acted like an ass. Lets see if he can try and prove it wasnt their fault again.
Wine Bunker October 18, 2012 at 08:35 PM
This is Brett Barclift, owner of the Wine Bunker. As I told the selectmen Tuesday night, I take full responsibility for the actions that happened at my store last month. We will in fact be closed this Sunday - Tuesday. I am angry and frustrated, but more than anything, embarrassed of this incident. We are striving to build a partnership with the town of Reading, hosting fundraisers for community groups and charities. However, this infraction has damaged our image and I am committed to rebuilding the integrity of the Wine Bunker. I apologize for the infraction and will demand from myself and every individual here at the Wine Bunker that this never happens again.
Barry Berman October 21, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Very Good of the owner of the Wine Bunker to step up publicly and take responsibility. None of us are going to be perfect in anything we do. Kudos to the Reading PD for their consistent vigilance

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