Push to change how alcohol is sold in Montgomery County

There is a new push to change the way Montgomery County controls beer and wine sales. 

Right now, businesses can only buy liquor from a county owned warehouse, which then delivers it to them. But consumers, store owners and even one lawmaker say that should change.

"It's really sort of big government and it's a matter of control over everything," says Joe McGown, who prefers to buy his beer or wine in the District.

Ron Brenner manages three Rodman's locations in D.C. and Montgomery County.

He says it's a conflict of interest. By running its own liquor stores, not only is Montgomery County Rodman's competitor, it's also their supplier. 

"My managers at my two county stores just pull their hair out, just trying to deal with the county," said Brenner.

Store owners in Montgomery County can only get beer deliveries on Tuesdays and Fridays. Wine is delivered on Thursdays. Orders must be placed two days before the delivery is needed. 

The result is higher prices for consumers. Store owners say the markup in Montgomery County is about 20 percent.

Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer says the current policy is the kind of government control you would only see in the old Soviet Union.

"Let the businesses go to directly to private distributors. That will solve the problem for most of the products that are really so troubling," said Riemer. 

Riemer's plan is to start reducing the number of items the country controls from 30,000 to about 5,000. 

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