Boston City Councilor Mike Ross’s Nov. 4 op-ed “The epicenter of craft beer?” succinctly points out the dilemma of a small brewer wanting to open in Boston. Similar complaints were pointed out in Farah Stockman’s Oct. 29 column “Red tape stifles neighborhood revitalization.” Restaurants, breweries, and other small businesses are handicapped from the start by the amount of red tape they face.
Government should be encouraging, not stifling, small-business enterprises in this sluggish economy.
We have opened four businesses of various types in Boston, one in Rhode Island, and two in Germany and Italy. Boston is the most difficult of all in which do business, when it comes to permits and licensing. Even if you have the financing, which is a hurdle in itself, you have to have an enormous number of permits and licenses initially, which must be renewed and paid for annually.
In addition to government agencies, you must also meet with and appease neighborhood groups who like to maintain the status quo. In one case, we had to go to all the way to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court just for a license that had been granted by the Boston Licensing Board and granted, after an appeal by opponents, by the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. We prevailed, and I am happy that we set a precedent so that others will not have to go down this path.
Hopefully, Martin Walsh, our next mayor, will be open-minded and see that less bureaucracy will make Boston a great city in which to do business.