I hope this doesn't get moved to another board because it's a Boston-specific issue.
Did the Boston Licensing Board screw itself?
I'm no fan of the liquor laws in MA or in Boston because they are confusing, illogical, and help retain a system where small, independent operators will struggle. This decision hammers home the stupidity of the laws.
Hopefully places will now just opt for the much less expensive beer, wine, and cordials license and still provide real cocktails. With this decision, what's to stop a restaurant from serving liquor with small amounts of material infused in it. Maybe some rum with a bit of lime peel, hibiscus gin (even though gin is already an infusion), or even bourbon infused with a single grain of rice (yum!).
Maybe I am overreading this decision, but I think it's pretty good news for diners and small businesses, not so great news for the regulators. I'm not sure what precedential weight previous licensing board decisions have on future ones, but I suspect it is something. Hopefully the city doesn't realize their mistake and overreact in the wrong way.
Also, I'm not even sure they got it technically right. MA law says that a cordial must contain at least 2.5% sugar by weight, but the Cafe Meridian situation just mentions vodka infused with a spice, which would not fall into that definition, even though the licensing board just said it did. Perhaps the coverage of the board decision doesn't include the fact that it was vodka + anise + sugar.
271 Meridian St, Boston, MA 02128