With support from Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS), the Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) has passed a resolution extending beer and wine to-go sales to include spirits for all restaurants that hold a current on-premises Montgomery County alcohol license. All alcohol sales must be sold with a takeout or delivered meal.
Businesses must apply for the privilege through an online form, and permission will be granted administratively. Businesses that have already applied for the beer and wine to-go privilege do not need to reapply. Once approved, businesses may sell alcohol through curbside pickup, carryout or delivery to Montgomery County addresses along with a meal using their own staff. Maryland state law prohibits the delivery of alcohol by a third party, such as Grubhub or Uber Eats.
This additional temporary license amendment follows Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s order deeming restaurants as essential services as a part of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) health emergency. When the Governor released his executive order empowering the local liquor boards to relax regulations, the BLC quickly passed a resolution to allow restaurants to sell spirits to go, becoming the second liquor board in the State of Maryland to do so. The Board took this step with the expectation that restaurants will continue to be responsible when selling alcohol.
This permission includes the sale of any sealed containers including bottles, cans, growlers and crowlers. Crowlers are non-refillable cans that are sealed at the time of purchase: they can carry beer or wine. The permission now also includes the sale of alcoholic drinks or cocktails in a to-go cup with a lid. This permission will expire when the governor’s emergency order to close restaurants is lifted.
“ABS’ focus is to help our County hospitality businesses keep their doors open in any way we can,” said ABS Director Bob Dorfman. “I was a restaurant owner in my past life, and I understand the stress and worry that comes with running a business. The entire community needs to work together from all angles to keep them afloat.”
“One of the many reasons why this set up works better compared to other jurisdictions is the quick policies and support from ABS. It makes a difference,” said Mark Bucher, owner of Medium Rare restaurant in Bethesda.
Residents looking for a listing of hospitality businesses that are offering takeout and delivery may want to check out the MoCo Eats restaurant directory.
ABS, the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine, and spirits for Montgomery County, operates 25 beer, wine and spirits stores and manages alcohol licensing and enforcement on behalf of the Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners. Generating more than $35 million annually, ABS profits are used to pay off County debt and a large portion is deposited in the County general fund to pay for services that otherwise would be paid for with tax dollars.