Friday, April 14, 2017

Despite fake news headlines, you won't be buying liquor at grocery, drug or convenience stores in MoCo

You may have seen fake news headlines over the last few days trumpeting that "liquor" will soon be sold at "privately-owned stores" in Montgomery County. The careful wording was designed by the Montgomery County political cartel, to give casual readers the false impression that beer, wine and spirits would be coming to the shelves at Giant, CVS, 7-Eleven, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it was surprising that many in the local media enabled the deception with false headlines. This is one of the more audacious public misinformation campaigns I've ever witnessed from the MoCo cartel.

Here are the facts:

The Maryland General Assembly just passed a bill which will only allow privately-owned beer and wine stores to sell liquor. Clever language in the bill specifically excludes grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores. Even popular convenience stores that currently sell beer and wine, like Talbert's in Bethesda, will be ineligible to sell liquor.

Even those beer and wine stores that qualify to sell liquor under the bill will still have to buy that liquor from the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control - the government monopoly. That means they will be competing on retail price directly with the Montgomery County government liquor stores. Merchants like Bradley Food and Beverage have pointed out in the past that such competition is unfair to the small private businesses being forced to compete with the same government-monopoly seller, who sets the prices they have to pay for stock.

The new law allows the DLC to decide the criteria for the granting of contracts with private beer and wine stores by itself, with no public input or transparency. DLC, in other words, can decide the terms of competition itself. Profits for whichever few retailers DLC decides to "compete" with will likely be limited by the monopoly control over price, and that means no savings for you, the customer.

It's also unlikely that private beer and wine stores could be competitive with County-owned liquor stores on inventory, because the County stores are physically larger than stores which have been only allowed to sell beer and wine. And they'll still have to deal with the same DLC inventory and delivery problems that have hampered their existing beer and wine sales.

Once again, County politicians have tried to "look busy," even as they bolster and preserve the government liquor monopoly. Real change would be full privatization of beer, wine and spirit sales in Montgomery County, and being able to buy Bud Light or a bottle of wine at Safeway or Rite Aid. That did not happen with this new law.

Fact check score for fake news "liquor to be sold at privately-owned stores" headlines, designed to fool people who don't read the articles for the details?

Four Pinocchios/Pants on Fire


  1. I don't think anyone's stupid enough to read "liquor to be sold at privately-owned stores" and think that means any store in the county can suddenly sell liquor. Of course we're only talking about a change that affects beer/wine stores.

    1. Unfortunately, as I wrote, the headlines of the local news articles did not make this important distinction. The coverage was very misleading, reflecting an attempt by the MoCo cartel to give people the impression that the DLC monopoly was ending, and that all kinds of liquor would be sold at all kinds of "privately-owned stores."

      Inaccurate headlines don't make one stupid. "Beer and Wine" had to be added to the headline to make it accurate. Not exactly rocket science.

    2. So, what, the "MoCo cartel" forced every news outlet to use the headline the "cartel" wanted (this isn't even a MoCo law - it's a state law)? Come on. These blog posts make you sound crazy.

    3. 10:22: They don't really have to force them to, because they already control them via money they pay, and trading favorable coverage for access. Can you name one hard-hitting investigation by any local news outlet that brought down one or more Montgomery County officials? Post, Gazette, Bethesda Magazine, The Sentinel, etc.? Let me save you some time - there hasn't been a single one. Why is that?

      Claiming there's no political machine in the County, when large groups of residents are banding together to dismantle it in 2018, only makes YOU sound crazy.

      The MoCo cartel makes Boss Tweed look like Mr. Rogers.

    4. the fact no councilmember has been exposed as corrupt proves that they're all hiding something...and controlling all those media outlets, too? You honestly don't think you sound crazy? I'm being serious: that sounds like a logical conclusion to you?

    5. I think Robert is pointing out the media merely digested a euphemistic press release from our delegation and then regurgitated it. It was misleading and lazy journalism. Most of the Council is working hard to protect the DLC. And that is unfortunate.

    6. 12:24: First of all, the cartel pays the salaries and expenses for a number of local fake news media outlets, not the Councilmembers themselves. But remember, the Council also has 6 public access TV channels and a Spanish radio station under their control.

      Second, the fact that no councilmember has been exposed as corrupt only proves that the FBI hasn't started looking yet. Start turning over every rock at 100 Maryland Avenue and 8787 Georgia Avenue, and what you find may shock you.