Town permitting an obstacle to Airport booze sales

West Tisbury officials say that they can issue a retail permit for restaurants, not concession stands.

Beer and wine could help fund employee housing at the airport. —MV Times

Updated January 18.

To raise more money for employee housing, the head of post-screening concessions at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport is looking to sell beer and wine to passengers. But the idea may be a non-starter.

West Tisbury town administrator Jen Rand says that only restaurants are currently allowed to have a retail license for beer and wine, not concession stands.

In a meeting last Thursday, the airport commission gave the go-ahead to Kevin Bradley to ask the town for a license to sell beer and wine.

Bradley runs Blu Water Capital, which controls concessions at the tented area after passenger screening. He hoped at the meeting to implement the change by June. Bradley says that Blu Water has three seasonal employees, who currently have sustained housing.

Bradley told the commission that he wants to use any proceeds from alcohol sales to acquire affordable housing for concessions employees, as well as for airport employees.

According to town administrator Jen Rand, the plan would not be possible, as current town regulations restrict such licenses to restaurants only. “There is nothing that says that if you want to do [Bradley’s plan], all you have to do is X. What it says is it must be a restaurant,” Rand said.

Bradley did say at the meeting that he is working to secure an Oak Bluffs property that would provide affordable housing to around three individuals. He adds that acquiring this property will not be negatively affected if a license to sell beer and wine is denied.

“I’m in the process of acquiring a property for our employees, and I actually opened it up to airport employees as well,” said Bradley.

Beer and wine sales could, however, allow the property to house more people. “Probably, the initial property would house up to eight if this were to be allowed,” Bradley says.

Bradley expects that up to $150,000 would be generated from an initial year of beer and wine sales, as he estimates that around 20 percent of passengers would consume one or two alcoholic beverages if offered.

“Easily the largest request we have from passengers who come through is whether or not we can provide beer or wine,” said Bradley.

Bradley planned on Thursday to limit each customer to two drinks.

“[Alcohol] is a big commodity for the passengers, and … at certain points of the day, it’s really attractive to them,” airport commissioner Geoffrey Wheeler said at Thursday’s meeting. “And I don’t think there’s any harm in it, particularly if you’re limiting it to two [drinks].”

Wheeler added that airlines retain the right to deny boarding to any individual.

Bradley says that he still plans to communicate with the town about the possibility of beer and wine sales.

This article was updated to include the information about and responses to town regulations.


  1. Hi,
    Will this endeavor have a negative effect on the viability of the well run Planeview Restaurant ?
    Bob Mone

  2. Poor Martha. Anything to make a buck. Sad and frustrating. Perhaps PLANEVIEW would like the opportunity to add say beer and wine to their menu. The island that I knew and loved for 30 years is gone. It is no longer unique and pristine. “Take paradise and put up a parking lot”.

    • Joanne–I sometimes like having a glass of wine while
      waiting for a flight, especially if I am having a meal.
      You know, they repealed prohibition in 1933.
      It would be nice if they had an option to take a toke or
      2 on a bong, since you can’t fly with a jegal
      product. I don’t smoke pot, but I know some
      people get stressed when flying, and it might calm
      them down. What’s the problem ?
      And how does any of this relate to putting
      up a parking lot ?
      I don’t mean to be critical of your opinion, but
      we can both quote songs from the ’60’s …

      “Your old road is rapidly agin’
      Please get out of the new one
      If you can’t lend your hand
      For the times they are a-changin’ “

    • Isn’t it “Paved paradise and put up a parking lot”? Also, it’s time for people to get a new song to quote, especially in this case. A commercial airport is almost by definition, “paved”, and certainly requires a parking lot.

  3. Mr. Keller. Agree, to a point. The times they are a-changing– wonder what Bob Dylan’s follow-up would be. At 81 I do not adapt well to change. My opinion is that the island has changed so dramatically that I just don’t get some of these ” progressive” ideas. To each his own. And I think it was a Joni Mitchell song about the parking lot. Looks like West Tiz will make the final decision.

    • Joanne– Yeah, I am 71– I get it about adapting to new
      stuff. Younger people I interact with are amazed that I
      would actually have a $100 bill in my wallet, don’t have
      a “wallet” on my phone and don’t have a debit card.
      I have been here for 35 years– Yes, it has changed….
      But, I left New Jersey 45 years ago, and when I go back
      there, I REALLY appreciate the efforts to slow the rate
      of change here. But the dominant societal changes are
      too vast to swim against– the current is very
      All we can do is hold our values, and be true to
      ourselves. I certainly hope you took no offense to
      my comment.
      And yes, Joni Mitchell —
      Thanks for reminding me

    • It must’ve been a while since you’ve been to the restaurant as they already sell beer and wine. Plane View is one of the best kept secrets for wholesome food and a reasonable price on the island.

  4. June 18 – September 30: 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM
    October 1 – June 17: 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM
    Alcohol is so important to their survival.

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