Council Actions Last Night; Wine on the Agenda!

61 India Street; Future Site of Blue Lobster Winery & Lounge

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,079)

“It’s not a done deal by any means. There are still many hurdles to get over,” said Chris Gamble following the council’s approval for a request for a liquor license and outdoor dining at 61 India Street. “It’s a long process, but we are getting lots of encouragement,” said Gamble’s business partner Karen Rasmussen.

The partners hope that the Blue Lobster Urban Winery and Lounge, will be open for business by the end of summer or September. The grapes will come from California via refrigerated trucks and will be processed at the India Street location. Also, there will be small plate appetizers. The proposed Lounge will be confined to the first floor of the building.

In a more complicated matter, the council addressed amending an ordinance to the city code which would permit Farmers’ Markets to sell unpasteurized milk, milk products, hard cider, malt liquor and wine produced by Maine farms from locally grown products as long as they are in compliance with state laws. The sale of hard cider, malt liquor and wine requires a state license to do so and it was approved. The sale of unpasteurized milk and milk products at Farmers’ Markets was approved as well. However, a controversy surrounding whether or not the vendors at the Market should be required to display a placard listing possible health hazards to consumers; an idea suppoted by the ciy’s Health Department.

Last November, Councilors Leeman and Anton disagreed; Leeman believing such placards should be displayed by Market vendors. Anton disagreed then and last night. He maintained that retailers such as the Rosemont stores, which sell unpasteurized milk, are not required to display similiar information anywhere. Anton’s amendment not to require a placard at the Market’s won. Doug Gardner, director of the city’s Health Department indicated that he might consider an ordinance change that would require all sellers to unpasteurized milk and milk products, to display information on its hazards.