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Homewood clears way for alcoholic drink sales at Beans and Greens

Connoisseurs of locally grown and crafted wines and beers will have a source to purchase a wide variety of affordably priced beverages in downtown Homewood.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the village board agreed to draft an ordinance granting a Class 10 liquor license to Beans and Greens Food Market, at 1941 Ridge Road. The vote increases the number of licenses in the village with this classification from zero to one.

The license classification allows for sale of package liquors for off-premises use but limits the display area to only 20 percent of the total food and liquor display at the designated site.

According to Village Finance Director Dennis Bubenik, that limitation prevents a store from moving to liquor sales only which would then require a different type of license. Dunning’s Market, in Cherry Creek Plaza, previously had a Class 10 license.

Beans and Greens Director John Franzese stated that the not-for-profit organization, which recently located in Homewood, has many goals for its new community.

“We recognized there was a desire here for high quality, locally produced, unadulterated meads, as well as sulfate- and additive-free wines,” Franzese said.

To achieve this goal, Beans and Greens has partnered with Greg Fischer, president of Wild Blossom, a meadery and winery located in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood.

Fischer told the board that Wild Blossom is the first winery in Chicago and the only producer of mead on the Northern Illinois Wine Trail.

“We have more than 30 years in the winemaking experience and we raise our own bees and collect our own honey,” he said. He added that purified Lake Michigan water is used in the production of the wine.  Fischer said he also distributes the product through Whole Foods Stores.

For those not familiar with mead, Fischer suggested visiting the Wild Blossom website, www.wildblossommeadery.com, which explains that it is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey with yeast. Mead is not a beer, wine or spirit in the normal sense; it is its own class of alcohol, and is believed to be the oldest alcoholic beverage.

Wild Blossom’s says mead has held a pivotal place in many cultures throughout its nearly 8,000-year history, and it is still enjoyed throughout the world.

Franzese said that Beans and Greens will be featuring 21 types of the honey-wine and yeast meads.

“We also intend to provide three or four of Chicago’s best craft beers, additive free, within the next few months,” he said.

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