Saturday, August 22, 2015

While I've Been Out: Is Wegmans Trying Again For A Liquor Store? We Have A Sign, Not The Story


Among the many tweets and emails that I overlooked during the summer is the post above asking if the Columbia Wegmans is trying again for a liquor license.

Does anyone know?

The tweet seems to show a poster advertising a July 20 liquor board hearing for something called The Loft Wine & Spirits.  I see a county Web page that mentions a hearing, saying it was for Thomas quick.  I see decisions from July 21 and July 28, but nothing that mentions the Loft.

One aside, I did notice the extension that Petit Louis got so that you can now order liquor on their entire patio.  I have dreams about a relaxed fall evening with a glass of wine and dessert from Le Comptoir.  I also saw that Ananda has asked for a refillable container permit, which I assume means growlers.  That sounds great too.

But back to the big question: Does anyone know about plans for the Loft Wine & Spirits at Wegmans?  What have I missed?  I just searched a bit and don't see Web mentions of the Loft Wine & Spirits.  I'm agnostic on Wegmans opening a store.  I love Wegmans.  I buy very little alcohol, but I'm happy when I buy from a nice store with good stuff and good advice.  I go out of my way to check Perfect Pour in Elkridge because I get fair treatment and good advice.

Wegmans has a huge space on the second floor.  So I could see why they want to try again.  If they do, I would expect a similar fight from liquor store owners who don't want a massive competitor that people would visit as part of their regular shopping.  On the one hand, I don't buy the "save the children" arguments that seem to suggest liquor shouldn't mix with groceries.  On the other hand, the 2012 application seemed to just flout the law by installing a straw owner.

This is part of my "While I've Been Out" series to restart the blog.  Late last year, the blog got some serious competition.  I'm still working out how to keep writing while I'm doing so many other new things as well.  Thanks to everyone who has kept reading, emailing and commenting.  Monday, I'll be back with a gyro at Hickory Ridge Grill and the brunch at Ananda that was my great "lost post"

10 comments:

Karen Michaelson said...

I used to live in Washington state. A couple of years ago, grocery stores got permission to sell liquor. When the law passed, people called it the Costco law, because it gave Costco permission to sell alcoholic beverages. It was very convenient to be able to buy wine where you bought groceries. A few small liquor stores did close, but others seemed to expand with more varied offerings than the grocery store. I personally would welcome this, especially for wine.

Richard said...

Hey there, I was the one taking to you on Twitter. As I had mentioned earlier the biggest difference now is the man who owned The Perfect Pour isn't there (it was sold about two years ago). He was a large part of the money and motivation behind the first permit. That being said, I'm surprised that Wegmans is trying again, unless there's a new wrinkle on the local level someone I know with them told me that they were looking into more of a "long game" and looking at challenging the law (no wine in grocery stores) on the state level. As someone in the wine business I don't have a problem with wegmans getting a license.

Richard said...

Hey there, I was the one taking to you on Twitter. As I had mentioned earlier the biggest difference now is the man who owned The Perfect Pour isn't there (it was sold about two years ago). He was a large part of the money and motivation behind the first permit. That being said, I'm surprised that Wegmans is trying again, unless there's a new wrinkle on the local level someone I know with them told me that they were looking into more of a "long game" and looking at challenging the law (no wine in grocery stores) on the state level. As someone in the wine business I don't have a problem with wegmans getting a license.

Anonymous said...

I'm a female...always feel a little sketchy / worried for my safety when I have to go to a liquor store to buy wine or beer...would much rather buy from a reputable seller like one attached to wegman's! Having lived in a state where this is allowed, I don't think it is a big deal to but alcohol where you buy groceries...in fact, I think it is safer...and of course, convenient. These laws seem outdated.

s. chou said...

@Anon - I hear you about the sketchy factor on the smaller liquor stores, so that's why I always go to Perfect Pour in Elkridge or the Wine Bin in Ellicott City, where the location and staff are not sketchy at all.

In general, does anyone know if Wegmans gets their liquor permit, would that open the way for Trader Joes? (And yes I know Perfect Pour is right next to Trader Joe's...)

Steve said...

Chains have been banned from alcohol sales since 1978. The Maryland liquor laws are designed to protect the small stores, with their lobbyists very successful keeping it that way. We are forced to make extra stops just to pick up some wine or beer and pay higher prices. There was a group trying to change this a few years back, but I do not think they were successful. Maybe Wegmans will succeed with this store. Harris Teeter found a workaround the law (separate entrance) in Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

Wegmans is only the landlord. They are leasing the space to Thomas Quick who would own and operate the liquor store if approved.

BRIAN STONE said...

I do know that one of the many issues with the original plan for the liquor store in the Wegman's building was that there wasn't a separate entrance for the store. That decision and the decision to basically have a local be a front for Wegman's ownership of the liquor store were really foolish.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous I want to sell you some swamp land in Florida

roney ahmed said...




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