State law prohibits liquor delivery, license board reminds shop owners

January 13, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Carroll County package goods stores cannot offer delivery to customers, the Carroll County Board of License Commissioners affirmed yesterday in a discussion with the owners of Mount Airy Liquors.

However, officials from the Frederick County Liquor License Commission interpret the same state law to allow alcohol deliveries.

The discussion at Carroll's monthly liquor board meeting stemmed from an October Mount Airy Liquors ad in the Mount Airy Courier Gazette and one in the telephone book offering free delivery. Liquor store owners were notified by letter in September that the practice was illegal in Carroll County.

"We just wanted to bring you in to discuss this and tell you that if you are doing it, that it has got to cease," said Earle H. Brewer, liquor board chairman.

Board members quoted the state law regarding the sale of beer and light wine for consumption off premises to defend their position.

The law reads in part, "The license shall authorize the holder thereof to keep for sale, and to sell beer and light wines at retail, in any quantity to any consumers, at the place therein described, and to deliver the same in a sealed container, which package or container shall not be opened nor its contents consumed on the premises where sold."

Regulations for beer licenses and beer, wine and liquor licenses are similarly worded.

Francis Schmitz, co-owner with Steve Golueke of Mount Airy Liquors, said the ads were run in error. He said the words "free delivery" were in the part of the ad that lists the business's address, hours and telephone number, and that he rarely proofreads that part.

Subsequent ads have not offered delivery, and he has not provided the service for anyone, he said.

However, Mr. Schmitz questioned the board's interpretation of the state law, saying that a store "just three blocks" away on the Frederick County side of Mount Airy was providing delivery. Mr. Schmitz did not identify the establishment.

Board members replied that they feel delivery constitutes a sale off the premises of the package store.

"The sale is not consummated until you get the money and the alcohol is delivered," said board member William A. Sapp.

In contrast, a Frederick County liquor official said yesterday that Frederick County officials have interpreted the law as allowing delivery by package stores. Also, Frederick County law allows restaurants to deliver alcohol, as long as they require the customer to fill out a form and verify identification.

The Carroll County board also assured Mr. Schmitz and Mr. Golueke that a Frederick County liquor store could not deliver into Carroll County.

"If they came over the county line, that would be selling without a license," said Ron Lau, administrator of the Carroll County Board of License Commissioners.

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