BETHESDA, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - The Supreme Court has weighed in on a case that could have a big impact on how and where you buy alcohol.
The justices ruled that a law in Tennessee that limits the sale of liquor licenses to in-state residents violates interstate commerce. Maryland-based Total Wine was barred from doing business in Tennessee because the company wasn't based there. The justices ruled that residency requirements were unconstitutional.
In Maryland, there are laws that restrict who and where you can ship wine from and the 7-2 decision has wine lovers rejoicing. Maryland has residency requirements for all in-state manufacturing and wholesale alcohol permits, and most counties have residency requirements for their retail alcohol licenses.
This blocks consumers from buying or shipping wine where they want it or from who they want it from. But with the decision, those requirements are going to have to be withdrawn.
The Supreme Court ruling is the latest in a long line of cases aimed at freeing up the consumer wine and liquor market from heavy-handed government restrictions that not only limit competition among businesses. While many will celebrate the decision, small business owners, like Cork 57 in Bethesda, are not happy.
Cork 57 already has to operate under the Montgomery County government's own department of liquor control, which runs their own county stores, and now if big box companies move into Montgomery County, small businesses like Cork 57 will have to worry about their survival.
"It will hurt a lot of small businesses in Maryland, especially in Montgomery County, and I think a lot of jobs would be lost and, in my personal opinion, this will have a huge impact," Cork 57 owner Fred Namin told FOX 5.