Town and businesses talk liquor law issues

By Lindsay Carey
Staff Writer
After a few incidents of vandalism and other appropriate behavior downtown, town officials met with business owners in town to discuss ways to make it safer.
Business owners made a couple of requests at the meeting, like a stronger police presence and training on the application of liquor laws.
Town Manager Garry Brumback expressed the concern of maintaining the image of downtown as a family oriented area.
“It’s perfectly fine to drink, but patrons and business owners need to do it responsibly,” said Brumback.
Town officials contacted The State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Liquor Control Division for help in educating bar and restaurant owners about the laws and regulations regarding the sale of liquor.
The town partnered with the STEPS Coalition and Southington Police Department to host a two hour informational session at Hawk’s Landing Country Club on July 23.
Officer Tom Gallo described the meeting as a proactive measure on behalf of the town, so that bar and restaurant owners understand the processes and regulations before an incident occurs.
Agent Kevin Mercado, from the State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Liquor Control Division, covered permitting processes, liquor regulations and penalties for violating regulations.
“There’s an apparent lack of training associated with getting a liquor license,” said Brumback. “It’s always beneficial to have a better understanding of what you’re expected to do.”
Representatives from Apple Valley Bowling, the Aqua Turf, Back 9 Tavern at Southignton Country Club, The New Mill, Blue Moon, Cadillac Ranch, the Groggy Frog, Hawks Landing Country Club, Hydeaway Café, J Lynn’s Pub, Machiavelli’s, Mount Southington, Smokin’ with Chris and Wood N’ Tap attended the information session.
The Groggy Frog Owner Mike Montana said he personally found the meeting very informative and well organized even though he felt that he was already well versed in everything Mercado discussed.
“I’m glad that the people who attended learned something,” said Montana. “I wish that all the rest of the bars in town came.”
Although all of the business didn’t come, Kelly Leppard, head of the STEPS Coalition, said that she was happy with the turnout.
“It was nice to see the bars and restaurants come out and take time out of their schedules to learn and work as a team to try to prevent some of these problems even before they start,” said Officer Gallo.
Gallo said many of the restaurant representatives asked some good questions, including questions regarding under aged drinking.
“Underage drinking is always a concern from alcohol poisoning to getting in a car and driving,” said Gallo. “Now they’re all up to date with the new laws and they have a face behind the name if they have questions.”

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