Miniature liquor bottles will no longer be sold on Martha’s Vineyard starting next week, with a ban on the so-called “nips” set to go into effect starting May 1. 

Voters in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, the only two Vineyard towns with liquor stores, approved the bans last April out of concern about litter and drunk driving. The two towns follow Nantucket, Falmouth, Mashpee and several other municipalities across the state in banning nips.

As liquor stores are restocking for the upcoming season, many have stopped ordering nips in preparation of the ban and put the remaining stock on sale.

Stores around the Island are having sales to get rid of their stock. — Ray Ewing

“We haven’t really bought [nips] in April,” said Brion McGroarty, the general manager of MV Wine and Spirits in Edgartown. “We’ve been telling everybody for the last month what’s happening.” 

Mr. McGroarty was hoping what little stock he had left would be sold before the ban. If not, the loss won’t be huge, as nips do not generally make up a huge portion of the store’s sales. 

Nips have been popular on Martha’s Vineyard, but their prominence has often led to pollution along roads, bike trails and other parts of the Island.

Richard Garcia, a salesman at Jim’s Package Store, hoped getting rid of them would change that. 

“As an individual, I’m very happy about it because of the litter problem and how it’ll impact the underlying social aspect [of nips],” Garcia said. “All the employees [at Jim’s Package Store] are behind it.” 

Both Jim’s Package Store and MV Wine and Spirits have been notifying customers that the ban is about to go into effect. Mr. McGroarty even enlisted his niece to get the message across to non-English speakers.

“I hired my niece next week to speak to the Portuguese community so they can understand what’s going on as well,” he said. 

Nip bans have become a normal sight along Island paths. — Ray Ewing

When the ban was first proposed last year, it drew pushback from some liquor stores who requested other paths be taken, including a bottle redemption program. But nips still don’t fall under the list of redeemable items from the state, despite a continual effort in the state legislature. 

Emma Green-Beach, a member of the Oak Bluffs select board, emphasized that the ban was something the Island could do to play its part in protecting the environment. 

“Some may think that this won’t have a big impact environmentally, but it is one small step we can do locally,” she said. “Things usually happen on a state or federal or global level or in the private sector, but this is one little thing we can do to incite more positive changes.”