Friday, December 28, 2018


It was right before Christmas when the legal paperwork for the Loft Wine and Spirits decision went public. I’m not in the habit of reading legal documents. So I went through it a few times to get a better sense of things.

Wow, is it ever thorough.

The 25 pages (26 if you count the signatures) are a comprehensive summary of evidence and testimony given before the Alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board for Howard County, Maryland. (AKA: the Liquor Board.) The decision? The Board has decided in favor of granting the license.

Cheers! Something to toast when you ring in the New Year. A real live mom and pop business made its case, supported by community members.

The hearing, which took several evenings to complete, featured not only those in favor, but also a well-coordinated opposition and even some visits from local Republican candidates. This was hardly a one-sided affair. The process was professional and even-handed. All questions were asked and answered. Everyone had their say.

It was thorough.

And then, I presume, the Board went through all that testimony and information produced by all parties and assessed it according to the requirements they are charged to uphold. To give you an idea of how long such a process takes, consider than the hearing took place over the evenings on July 24, 26, and August 7th.The decision is dated December 20.

I’d been thinking this would make a lovely New Year’s Eve post. I wasn’t in such a rush to get the word out. But today I got word that those opposition forces (notably from The Perfect Pour) have filed to request a new hearing.

Let me get this straight. Mr. Quick has invested time and effort and money in trying to move this project forward. He met all the requirements the law mandates. The Liquor Board has ruled in his favor. But now the other side who oppose the competition his store represents say it’s not over?

I know this isn’t exactly an election, but—didn’t Mr. Quick win fair and square here? Hasn’t he earned the right to “take office” as it were? While I didn’t necessary expect Barry Coughlin to turn up  at Mr. Quick’s place of business to graciously concede defeat I did think that he’d respect the decision handed down by the Liquor Board.

This move feels profoundly disrespectful to Mr. Quick, his family and associates. But more than that it can’t help but be a suggestion that the Liquor Board didn’t do their job. And I just don’t believe that to be the case. I think they bent over backwards to examine the facts and to hear from the community.  They took their time. They did their job well.

They were thorough.

And I don’t think they are in any way obligated to go back and do it all over again.

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