The General Assembly session is over and the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control (DLC) is safe from competition for another year. As the DLC no longer has to make the case that its prices are competitive, it has decided to celebrate by raising prices by 10% on special order wines over $18 per bottle.
Essentially, this is a tax increase. The County is using its monopoly power to increase the price on these wines by 10%. Businesses have a choice of either eating the cost or passing it on to the consumer. In any case, the change flies in the face of Councilmember Hans Riemer’s much vaunted reform proposal to free up special orders. MoCo is moving in the other direction.
Justin McInerny of Capital Beer and Wine sent out the following notice in response yesterday:
DLC INCREASES SPECIAL ORDER WINE WHOLESALE PRICES EFFECTIVE JUNE 1, 2016
DLC has announced effective June 1, 2016 wholesale prices for all wines will be 25% over DLC’s cost. This is a huge, costly and burdensome increase for those of us who focus on small production, family owned and operated vineyards. Currently, the mark ups are as follows on wine:
- 25% on special order wines whose cost to the DLC is under $18 per bottle,
- 35% over cost for stock wines and
- 15% for special order wines which wholesale for $18 per bottle.
Note that the percentage based markup is capricious and arbitrary to begin with. Shipping charges should not be based on how much an item costs. Shipping charges should be based on what it costs to ship the product. The DLC has no wholesale sales staff and originates no wholesale business. The DLC, like FedEx, is a delivery service which fulfils wholesale orders taken by third parties. A wine that wholesales for $10 per bottle costs the same to ship as a wine which wholesales for $12 per bottle.
I have made it easy for you to do something about this. Contact County Executive Leggett and the County Council members below and protest this decision.
You can also call County Executive Leggett directly 240-777-0311, the DLC runs under his supervision.
You can also call the Councilmembers directly or e-mail them directly through the County Council website here.
Thank you for your help.