From the Department of Liquor Control (DLC) Commissioned Report on the DLC

The Department of Liquor Control commissioned an outside report on their business. Here is some of what they found:

People are Shopping Elsewhere

In polite language, the report explains that sales in Montgomery County are below those expected for a wealthy, educated area with a tolerant attitude toward alcohol (pp. 14-16):

Overall, liquor sales in Maryland are below the benchmarked average. . . . Besides tourists and other travelers who purchase in Washington DC, for reasons of convenience or price, Montgomery County liquor customers may also purchase their alcohol in the District of Columbia rather than the County. It is hoped that this may offer an opportunity to the DLC to recapture some business without increasing consumption.

“Recapture some business” is a nice way to say people are buying alcohol in DC or Virginia rather than Montgomery. No wonder when prices are so much lower there. How the DLC plans to recapture business without price reductions so they are competitive remains a mystery to me. It also illustrates the tension–to put it mildly–between the DLC’s desire to make a profit and “control” the use of alcohol.

High Costs, Low Profit

Comparatively, the DLC has high operating expenses among benchmarked control jurisdictions. . . . Relative to other control states, the DLC has low gross profit margins.

Why is Montgomery County in this business?