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Tea House Works Toward Liquor License, Hopes to Have It This Fall

With one major hurdle cleared, the Wenham Tea House works to secure a liquor license - a process it hopes is complete by fall.

A pouring liquor license for the is inching closer to reality, with the Tea House’s management hoping to have the license in hand by fall.

John Keohane, owner of the Tea House’s operator, Henry’s Fine Foods, said his attorney is working on the paperwork to submit to town officials.

Late last month, Gov. Deval Patrick signed the home rule petition into law, granting the town of Wenham a pouring license for the Tea House. Now it is up to Henry’s to submit the required paperwork. The Board of Selectmen, acting as the Licensing Board, will then review the application. If approved, the license would then also need approval from the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

“We’re thinking it won’t be until fall,” Keohane said.

He said he does not anticipate any major issues.

Keohane said that if he’d known it would take this long to get the license he may have thought differently about taking over management of the Tea House. The Tea House’s previous operator, Emma Roberts, .

The liquor license, Keohane said, is key to many components of his plans for the operation.

In February, Wenham Town Meeting voters . The move did not prompt any discussion and passed unanimously.

But when it was discovered that the package store license assigned specifically to the Tea House needed to be removed before a pouring license could be granted to the Tea House. Roberts held a so-called package store license at the Tea House for about two years.

The package store license, since becoming available, had been in demand, with . One , from , but that process was put on hold while the complications with the legislation was worked out.

Since opening in March, Keohane said the Tea House has received one-day liquor licenses for special events. But once a full liquor license is awarded, in addition to service with meals, Henry’s plans special events.

Keohane said he plans to move Henry’s annual Oktoberfest from Henry’s Market in North Beverly to the Tea House. It is planned for Sept. 22 and will include bratwurst, knackwurst and a German polka band. The event will benefit the .

“We thought this venue would be more conducive,” he said.

Also planned are beer summit dinner, for example.

Tea House manage Julie Perkins said customers often ask if the Tea House serves alcohol and other ask when the license will be granted.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of different stuff once we have a liquor license,” Keohane said.

Nancy July 26, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I hope it all works out. Anything to keep the Tea House operating plus, Henry's is well respected around here. Two great traditions joining to become a major stopping place.
Rich July 26, 2012 at 06:28 PM
only had breakfast at the tea house a few times, I work during the week so never had lunch there, very clean, a bit fancy, but excellent food, staff, etc, Good luck to new owner, FYI, nothing moves fast in these towns unless its a rate hike or tax increase... I miss the Old Hunters Inn dowtown.

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