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Long Trail on tap for Big E, three applicants seek one license

Aug. 8, 2014 | By Carley Dangona

WEST SPRINGFIELD – The Long Trail Brewing Company and the Eastern States Exposition (ESE) reached an amicable decision to allow the brewer to sell beer in the Vermont Building during the 2014 Big E fair.

Representatives from the ESE had spoken out in opposition against Long Trail’s application for an independent liquor license during the event. Gregory Chiecko, ESE director of Sales, informed the License Commission during its Aug. 5 meeting the nonprofit would apply on behalf of Long Trail, as the other alcohol licenses for the fair are handled. The commission approved the license unanimously.
“The ESE is a great partner for Long Trail [and] a great platform for Long Trail products,” David Bartley, the attorney representing Long Trail, said. “As far as Long Trail is concerned, it’s a triple win. My client is really looking forward to working with Gene Cassidy [president and CEO of the ESE] and the Big E – to another successful 17 days at the fair.”
During the July 15 meeting, representatives from Long Trail explained they pursued the temporary wine and malt license separately because they were led to believe the ESE was not interested in renewing its agreement with Otter Creek Brewing. For the past 10 years, Long Trail has sold its products under the previous agreement where Otter Creek was allowed to sell Vermont-made beers and ales.
When asked what factor prompted the ESE to apply on behalf of Long Trail, Chiecko remained mum. He said, “In the interest of all parties, we did things the way we always have. Everyone seems pleased.”
He reiterated, as was explained on July 15, that the main issue was the question of which entity would be liable if there was an alcohol-related incident. When a vendor applies under the ESE’s name, the ESE is responsible for monitoring the sales and intake and coordinating with the Police Department to ensure incidents are kept to a minimum.
He added that this method was the best way for the ESE to ensure the safety of its patrons.
On July 15, Stephen Buoniconti, the attorney representing the ESE said, “In the history of the Big E, all [liquor] licenses have fallen under the umbrella of the ESE. There’s a simple reason for that: control.”
Buoniconti also stated he believed other states that participate in the fair would be inclined to apply independently if Long Trail was granted the license, creating potential issues for the ESE in controlling the sale and consumption of alcohol on its grounds.
In other action, the License Commission reviewed three applications for the one annual wine and malt beverage license that is available.
A new business, Pho Barbecue Vietnamese Cuisine; Shallot Thai Cuisine, an established business that currently has a seasonal alcohol license; and Memos Restaurant, an established business that seeks to extend its evening hours are applying for the license. Pho and Shallot Thai are located on Riverdale Street and Memos on Memorial Avenue.
The commission continued the public hearings until its next meeting on Aug. 26 at 4:30 p.m. in the Municipal Office Building, 26 Central St.

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