BERLIN – The gift shop at Ocean City Brewing Company will not be adding its private label beach vodka to the inventory.
The Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) denied Ocean City Brewing Company’s request to sell its own brand of vodka in the establishment’s gift shop. BLC members told Josh Shores, owner of the brewery, that there were already plenty of retail locations selling liquor in the area.
“We’ve got one six blocks to the south and one 10 blocks to the north,” BLC Chairman William Esham said. “The public is being served well. Nobody’s going to die of thirst.”
Though Shores said he did not want to sell any vodka other than the variety his company was having produced, Thomas Coates, the BLC attorney, said the board couldn’t limit its approval to that one product.
“We can’t pick and choose which brands we allow our retailers to sell,” Coates said.
While the board denied Shores’ request to sell vodka, it did approve his plan to expand Ocean City Brewing Company’s licensed premises. The brewery will now be able to serve alcohol on the outdoor patio, which the Town of Ocean City officials recently approved. Shores said customers have been suggesting the facility offer outdoor seating. He said thousands of customers had signed a petition advocating for outdoor seating.
Shores said the patio would hold 20 tables that would each seat four diners. The area would be fenced and would only be accessible through the restaurant.
Monica Whitehead, property manager at the neighboring Maresol Condominiums, said residents there were concerned outdoor seating would create too much noise.
Shores pointed out that the deck was more than 300 feet from the condominium.
“Noise will not be an issue,” he said.
The BLC agreed to allow the company to serve alcohol on the deck but told Shores to increase the setback area between it and Coastal Highway. Esham said the board would not approve a deck within 10 feet of the sidewalk along the road.
“It’s not personal,” Esham said, “it’s for safety.”
During Wednesday’s meeting, the BLC also gave Dead Freddies co-owner Stephen Carullo permission to expand his restaurant on 64th Street. Carullo will be adding 80 seats to the outdoor dining area at the property’s southwest corner. Only 40 of the seats will be new, as 40 will be moved from a more crowded area of the restaurant.
“What we’re trying to do is unclutter the restaurant,” Carullo said.
Other items approved by the BLC included license transfers for Friendship Food Mart, Oceans Market on 141st Street nd Ocean City Kebab House on S. Baltimore Avenue. The board did not approve a request for outdoor live entertainment that was submitted by Brass Balls Saloon for a special event on June 27.
Two businesses, Kaddy Mart in Snow Hill and Whisker’s Bar and Grill in Ocean Pines, were fined for selling alcohol to minors. The owners of Kaddy Mart were fined $1,500 and were told they could not sell alcohol until June 1. Esham added that if the fine was not paid by June 1 the suspension would remain in place until it was.
Whisker’s Bar and Grill, which has had just a handful of sales to minors in its long history, was fined $500.