One of the feel-good stories of this summer concerns Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, which was facing catastrophe when the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission suddenly began enforcing a Prohibition-era law.
After years of routine renewals, winery owner Rich Pelletier was told he could either renew his farmer’s manufacturing licenses or his restaurant pouring license, but not both.
To appreciate how ridiculous this is, consider Nashoba Valley Winery’s history: Man buys old farmhouse, orchard and winery. Builds thriving business. Creates dozens of jobs. Preserves the landscape. Produces a great product. Opens a restaurant.
To get there, Pelletier obtained three licenses for making his wine and a fourth to serve it in his restaurant. All was well until someone at the ABCC read the legal fine print and decided that making the stuff and pouring the stuff is illegal, unless it’s done in the same premises, and that the short distance between brewery and restaurant didn’t qualify.
This was so silly that even Gov. Charlie Baker got involved, and it soon appeared that the ABCC, state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, and Attorney General Maura Healey were collaborating to resolve the matter in Nashoba’s favor.
Let’s hope so. But let’s also recognize the fundamental problem: Our state government is too large, too involved in our lives, and too prone to the arbitrary and capricious exercise of power.
More Sina-cism from Chris Sinacola:
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