Common Market 1 (copy)

Assistant produce manager Sara Burns stocks onions at Common Market on Buckeystown Pike in Frederick.

ANNAPOLIS — The Frederick County delegation in Annapolis killed a proposal to allow the sale of wine, beer and liquor in co-op-owned grocery stores with their silence on Friday.

Delegate Karen Lewis Young (D-District 3A) was the sole voice to affirm her support of the proposed bill, which the delegation unanimously sent to be drafted the week before. But no one would second her motion to approve the bill, and it died before a vote could be taken.

“It’s a little disappointing,” Lewis Young said after the delegation meeting.

Common Market, a co-op-owned grocery store in Frederick County, proposed a new license that would allow co-op food stores to sell certified organic or Maryland-made wine, beer and liquors in their stores from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. The sales would have been limited to less than 10 percent of average daily sales and 5 percent of the building’s floor space.

Opponents of the bill, however, said it was opening a path for chain supermarkets and franchise food stores to follow.

Ben Golueke, owner of Mt. Airy Liquors since 1997, said it was a relief to see the delegation reject the bill. His store created a section for organic wines five years ago, of which he carries 30 to 40 varieties, he said. He also sells between 10 and 15 types of organic liquor as the organic market has grown in popularity.

A carve-out for co-ops or grocery stores could have hurt his business.

“We’ve been fighting the chain stores [getting] liquor licenses all the years I’ve been doing this,” Golueke said.

Lewis Young countered that the bill would have been a “small accommodation” to a “targeted market,” though she has previously said that Maryland’s alcohol laws are antiquated and should move in the direction of other states in allowing the sale of alcohol in grocery stores.

Sen. Ron Young (D-District 3) and Delegate Ken Kerr (D-District 3B) worried if creating a new license for co-ops was fair. Young was uncomfortable with creating a license that is not tied to the census, which limits Frederick County’s liquor licenses by population. Kerr also worried it was unfair to let Common Market jump the line, rather than wait for an available license.

“We’re not going to put Wegmans out of business. I promise you that,” said Common Market General Manager Bob Thompson.

It is unclear what will happen to the bill next. Common Market could potentially seek a sponsor for the bill this session. The delegation chairwoman, Delegate Carol Krimm (D-District 3A), also said she may be open to convening a delegation meeting in Frederick County on the topic after the session ends to consider it again in the 2020 session.

The co-op will evaluate its options, Thompson said after the meeting.

“I think that was the right decision,” Krimm said. “There wasn’t the support of the delegation, as you saw.”

Follow Samantha Hogan on Twitter: @SAHogan.

Samantha Hogan is the state house, environment, agriculture and energy reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(23) comments


This thing wasn’t going to happen overnight. I the people really want this thing, keep agitating.


Classic Maryland crap. Who cares where you buy booze? Costco in NV has liquor, saves me from stopping at multiple stores.


Has anyone ever attempted a popular referendum on the silly liquor laws in Maryland?


It’s Maryland, doesn’t work that way, it’s all about special interests and the control by few


We'v had referendums on issues before. Your answer doesn't make sense.



Moon otter

So much for capitalism. Conservatives would have blue laws out the wahzoo. Like Garrett County, no alcohol on Sunday unless you are at a restaurant around the lake area on Sunday. No take out. I understand wait til noon on Sunday. If you think Md is bad try Pa. Ugh. Such idiots. Let competition win. Licenses for everyone.


The only reason to restrict alcohol laws is to make sure minors are not imbibing. But even that does not work if it is in the home. These are archaic laws made for the liquor stores to keep their prices high.




Folks, this is about a strong liquor lobby denying you and I more choice by keeping competition out and controlling prices and dictating what's allowed to be sold. Make NO MISTAKE, lots of money is being made by MD liquor store owners and distributors that sell beer (over 10% markup), wine (over 30% markup), and liquor (over 20% markup). The liquor lobby (controlled mostly by distributors but in part by MD store owners, too ) will vociferously argue against any new business or competition for obvious reasons. Consequently, the stooges in Annapolis who created these protectionist, anti-competition laws will never change them. So, instead of serving MD residents by expanding choice and lowering price, state lawmakers limit our choices and keep prices needlessly high.

Ask Flying Dog about such rules. They wanted to expand their business to create a brewery with increased capacity located on land near the FDK airport but were shackled by still more anti-competition laws brought to you by your anti-competition Annapolis lawmakers.


Thank you. And this is why I shop in Virginia whenever possible.


Knocked this out of the park. The absurdity of Maryland's licensing scheme (and it is a scheme) makes no sense.


Yes! They are making decisions for a monied minority, not the regular citizens.




Absolutely right and think what the conservatives would have done!


What would the conservatives have done Dick, passed the bill?


They would get all those liquor stores to give them campaign money to let the liquor stores keep their monopoly.


100% correct. It’s how the few make money and all of MD pays for it. Propaganda tells you MD hs these elaborate liquor boards to prevent underage drinking and that’s also why only so many licenses are issued hence the long wait...nonsense. It’s to keep prices and the taxes that go with it HIGH. Don’t be fooled


Shows that the Democrat party controlled legislature pays more heed to the lobbyists than to what people want. They espouse power to the people, etc. but they don't really mean it. Where the money take is means a lot to them.


How much sense does it make for a grocery store that touts selling only healthy food wants to sell alcohol?


It's healthy alcohol. Organic, remember? [lol]


It's non-GMO, no trans-fat, no cholesterol, non-animal, and gluten free too!


Sounds great, Gabe, meet you at the liquor store.[wink]

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