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  • The ballot question all about 🍷🍺🥃

The ballot question all about 🍷🍺🥃

Plus: Free wine tastings, anyone?

 Happy Tuesday, Boston.

🥶 We made it to November. You’re officially allowed to turn the heat on. 

If you’re planning to vote by mail, the deadline to apply for your ballot is TODAY at 5 p.m. Check it off your to-do list here.

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Attention, procrastinators: Check your inspection sticker

  • Brace for impact on winter energy rates

  • Free wine tastings? I’m there.

Up first…


How will Question 3 impact you?

Illustration: Katie Cole

TL;DR: Alcohol sales at Mass. retail stores could expand, especially for beer and wine. Let’s get into it.

What’s Question 3 again? It essentially asks voters if they think more stores should be able to sell beer and wine while limiting how many can sell hard liquor. Reminder: This would only impact retailers, not restaurants and bars. You can read the actual ballot language here.

What happens if the “yes” vote wins? Five things:

  1. More stores can sell alcohol, especially beer and wine. The number of alcohol licenses a retailer can hold would double from nine to 18 by 2031. Meaning you may see Two Buck Chuck available in more Trader Joe’s.

  2. But the cap on hard liquor licenses would tighten. The state would cap “all alcohol” licenses (including hard liquor, beer, and wine) per retailer at seven, down from nine. Chains that currently hold more than seven licenses would be “grandfathered in.”

  3. Retailers would pay more for violating liquor laws. If a store sells alcohol to a minor, for example, the state can either suspend the store’s license or accept a fine. Currently, that fine is calculated based on 50% of the store’s liquor sales. If Q3 passes, the fine will be calculated based on 50% of gross profits from retail sales instead.

  4. An out-of-state driver’s license would become an acceptable form of ID.

  5. But you can’t buy alcohol using self-checkout.

What’s the catch? Even if Question 3 passes, cities and towns still have the final say on how many liquor licenses are permitted locally. So even if a retailer wants to get another liquor license, it must comply with city and town laws, too.

Who’s behind this? MassPack, a nonprofit coalition of hundreds of locally owned stores and supporters, proposed the ballot measure as a compromise in what the Globe calls “the state’s long-running alcohol wars.”

What happens if the “no” vote wins? Nothing changes — including the likelihood of continued pushes to regulate alcohol sales in Mass.


Quick & Dirty Headlines

Photo: Giphy, Illustration: Katie Cole

📈 Winter energy rates go into effect today. Brace for a steep electric bill. National Grid warned us in September the typical residential electric customer will see a 64% increase in their monthly bill starting Nov. 1, jumping over $100 from last year’s monthly bill. Well, that day is finally here. If you’re worried about the price increase, check out National Grid’s Winter Customer Savings Initiative. They also suggest using smart power strips, keeping furniture away from air vents, and checking insulation to save energy this winter.

🚘 If you’re a chronic procrastinator, make sure to check when your next car inspection is. Starting TODAY all vehicles will receive an inspection sticker showing the month the inspection was due, not the month the vehicle was actually inspected. So if your inspection expires in October and you don’t get it inspected until December, your new sticker will say October, not December. Police can slap you with a $40 fine if you have an expired sticker, so pay $35 for the inspection now to save yourself $40 later.

🍜 These are the best spots to get Thai food in Greater Boston, according to 250 Boston.com readers. They recommended a total of 80 restaurants, including their favorite dishes and preferred spice level. Coming in first place is Porter Square’s Sugar and Spice Thai Restaurant, followed by Kala Thai Cookery in Downtown Boston, and Crying Thaiger Rustic Thai Kitchen in Malden. As a gal with a peanut allergy, I will not be partaking in this taste test, so you’ll have to let me know if Boston.com readers got it right.


Freebies this week

Gif: Parks and Recreation via Giphy

🧙 Play Harry Potter Trivia and test your Wizarding World knowledge at Thirsty Scholar Pub TONIGHT. | Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. | 70 Beacon St., Somerville

✏️ Learn how to draw cartoons with artist Liz Young at Zone 3’s Drinking and Drawing event. Pizza, drinks, and art supplies will be provided. It’s the ultimate adult art class. | Wednesday, Nov. 2, 5:30 to 8 p.m. | 267 Western Ave., Cambridge

🖼️ Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum as part of their Free First Thursday series. Artists and musicians will be performing and art-making live. | Thursday, Nov. 3, 6 to 9 p.m.

🍷 Sip on some free wine at Mayhew Wine Shop. They believe good wine doesn’t have to be expensive wine (and they do this tasting every week). | Thursday, Nov. 3, 5 to 7 p.m.

🧘 Stretch out at Boynton Yards with a Saturday morning yoga class. Bring your own mat! | Saturday, Nov. 5, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. | 101 South St., Somerville


Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Illustration: Katie Cole

Today kicks off the first day of Native American Heritage Month in the United States. To celebrate, the Boston Public Library released “Native Lives, Native Stories,” their annual list of books published in the last year centering on the experiences of Indigenous communities throughout North America.

You can find the list of 63 books and their availability at the BPL here. I've added "Rites" by Savannah Johnston and "My Heart Is a Chainsaw" by Stephen Graham Jones to my reading list.

🤯 Thanks for reading! You can probably spot me today telling everyone that I can't believe it's already November.

💃 For more hot takes and late night thoughts, follow me on Twitter and IG @emilyschario. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected].