Commission Votes to Ban Nip Bottles

The Winthrop Licensing Commission has voted 2-1 to ban nip bottles of alcohol by Feb. 1, 2021. After that, the smallest size bottle you’ll be able to purchase is a pint or 200 milliliters.

Chairman of the Licensing Commission Marc Chapdelaine said they purposely made the effective date two years away to allow for other communities to iron out legalities in court, so Winthrop doesn’t end up in court over the same issue.

The communities of Chelsea and Everett have also moved to ban nip bottles and are currently in court proceedings regarding the issue.

Monday night’s vote after a public hearing was 2-1 in favor of the ban. Only three of the commission’s five members were at the meeting.

Voting in the affirmative was Chapdelaine and Matthew Camilleri. Member Joe Clark voted no, seeking more time in finding out what happens in the courts with other communities. But more importantly he didn’t want to hurt local businesses.

“This should be a statewide issue not a local decision,” said Clark, as for the litter nuisance he said there are ways to deal with that.

Also present was a representative of the Massachusetts Package Store Association, Bill Schmidt, chairman of the Board of Health and Paul Lucerto of Swett’s Liquors.

There are six liquor stores in Winthrop’s 1.6 mile town.

It was the Board of Health that sent a letter to the commission asking them to take up the issue based on public health and litter.

Lucerto said there needs to be more barrels on the beach where the problem of empty nip bottles seems to be the worst.

Lucerto said the ban “will hurt six family businesses in town.”

He added that there is no scientific data to claim the nips thrown around town came from Winthrop residents.

“I’m afraid customers will go elsewhere,” Lucerto said.

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