Quonquont Farm busy with 1-day liquor licenses this summer

The Daily Hampshire Gazette
September 20, 2012
Kathleen McKiernan

WHATELY – Twenty-eight caterers, brides and grooms applied for one-day liquor licenses for special events at the Quonquont Farm this summer, far exceeding the average two one-day licenses filed and issued during previous seasons. At each Tuesday meeting this summer, the Board of Selectmen reviewed and signed two to four licenses from Quonquont clients who had to individually apply and pay $75 at the town hall for a one-day license to serve drinks at the 19th-century restored barn at the 140-acre farm, which is now being used as a banquet facility in warm months.

To make it easier for their clients during their next season, which runs from May to October, Quonquont has taken out an application with the intent to get a seasonal license, the first in Whately, according to Town Administrator Lynn Sibley.

Quonquont is a pick-your-own blueberries, peaches and apple farm dating to the 1970s. The one-day liquor licenses issued this year spiked after the farm expanded into the special events industry.

A seasonal license, Sibley said, will save the Board of Selectmen and Quonquont’s clients time and energy.

“With a seasonal license, each of their clients wouldn’t have to get a license. It makes it easier for clients and there’s less work for us,” Sibley said.

The price of a seasonal license is still to be determined, but Sibley said it will likely be based on a monthly rate. For instance, since a full-year all-alcohol restaurant license costs $2,000, a six-month restaurant license could cost $1,000.

If Quonquont submits an application, the farm will have to go through a lengthy process before receiving final approval for a license. This includes a town public hearing and approvals from the selectmen and the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

The town currently has four full-year liquor licenses that bring in a total of $6,300. The Whately Inn holds a restaurant all-alcohol inn-holder license for $2,000. The Castaway has an all-alcohol restaurant general premise license for $2,000. Muffin’s General Market holds an all-alcohol package store license for $1,300, while Circle K has a beer and wine package store license for $1,000.

This may increase to five if the Fillin’ Station truck stop dinner off Route 5 and 10 receives approval for a beer and wine license.

The special event coordinators at Quonquont could not be reached for comment.