Edgartown selectmen reject Bad Martha’s request for extra hours

Selectmen said the Edgartown brewery was not intended to be a bar, and denied a request to stay open until 12 am.

Bad Martha held a grand opening and beer tasting inside its new Edgartown brewery last June. — Photo by Michael Cummo

Edgartown selectmen unanimously rejected a request for an extended liquor license from Bad Martha’s, a self-described farmer’s brewery and tasting room, at their regular Monday afternoon meeting.

Jim Carleton, tasting room manager and brewmaster, told selectmen the request was made to provide the business with more flexibility. The current liquor license requires bar sales to stop at 9 pm, when the brewery closes, but the request would have allowed the bar to serve until midnight.

Mr. Carleton told Selectmen Art Smadbeck and Margaret Serpa that late-night stragglers sometimes wander into the brewery having just arrived on the Island or gotten out of work.

“It would be nice to have the ability to sell a couple of extra beers,” he said. “I don’t think this is going to turn into a late-night destination.”

There was a brief pause before Mr. Smadbeck began questioning the request for extended hours.

“You probably weren’t here when this all started up?” Mr. Smadbeck asked Mr. Carleton.

Mr. Carleton confirmed that he was not.

“This was presented and licensed based on the presentation that it was a brewery and that it was not going to be a bar,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “That is not what this business was originally licensed for, designed for, or promised.”

Mr. Carleton appeared taken aback by the selectman’s position, and said little in response.

“I would respectfully ask you to withdraw your request,” Mr. Smadbeck said.

Mr. Carleton explained that at least 75 percent of Bad Martha’s business comes from tastings. However, he agreed to withdraw the request for an extended liquor license.

With the request off the floor, Mr. Smadbeck raised the issue of alcohol containment.

“People have been wandering around with some open containers of alcohol,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “At this point in time, you really need to begin to address some of the physical limitations and drawbacks and correct them. What’s going on there could be dangerous.”

Mr. Carleton said that the brewery posted signs to correct wandering consumers, but that patrons haven’t cooperated.

Mr. Smadbeck pointed out that after 7 pm, the crowd changes into bargoers, and suggested that Bad Martha’s actually close earlier, rather than later. Mr. Carleton did not respond to that suggestion.

The discussion ended with a vote by Selectmen Margaret Serpa and Mr. Smadbeck to deny the request for extended hours. Chairman Michael Donaroma, who leases the property to Bad Martha’s, did not participate in the discussion, and recused himself from the vote.

Sailing and selling

In other business Monday, selectmen also voted to grant a commercial marine license to Kurt Peterson. Mr. Peterson will offer sailing outings around the bay in a catboat, and told selectmen he had already spoken to Harbormaster Charlie Blair, who supported the endeavor. Mr. Donaroma wished Mr. Peterson good luck.

Also Monday, selectmen voted to send two warning letters for alcohol license violations, both involving MV Wine and Spirits. The first letter was issued to MV Wine and Spirits for hosting a tasting outside the physical confines of their store. Package store licenses allow for alcohol sales only inside a business. The second letter was issued to Eisenhour Gallery for serving alcohol provided by MV Wine and Spirits without applying for a one-day liquor license.