Liquor Control Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

How is alcohol distributed in Montgomery County?

Montgomery County's alcohol distribution framework is known as a “control jurisdiction” which means that the County Government is the exclusive wholesaler of alcoholic beverages in the County. The Department of Liquor Control is responsible for buying beer, wine and liquor from producers (and sometimes other wholesalers or retailers) and reselling to retail outlets. The County also has exclusive authority to sell liquor in retail stores, which is done through 25 County-owned and operated stores.

How do other jurisdictions distribute alcohol?

Seventeen states and a few other counties in the United States have a “control” system for alcohol distribution. All other states, and all other Maryland counties, are “license jurisdictions” where licenses are issued to private businesses to operate all levels of the alcohol production and distribution system.

What is the mission of Department of Liquor Control?

The mission of the Department of Liquor Control (DLC) is to “provide licensing, wholesale and retail sales of beverage alcohol products, enforcement and effective education and training programs, while promoting moderation and responsible behavior in all phases of distribution and consumption.”

How is the Department of Liquor Control organized? What functions are performed?

The Department of Liquor Control has three divisions—administration, operations and licensure, regulation and education. The administration division is responsible for budgeting, human resources, financial reporting and management, information technology, purchasing and ordering. The operations division includes warehouse, delivery and retail operations. The licensure, regulation and education division processes alcoholic beverage license applications, conducts alcohol beverage and tobacco inspections. This division also conducts surveillance investigations, community outreach and educational activities related to alcohol abuse prevention, regulatory compliance.

How much revenue is generated from alcohol distribution in Montgomery County?

The County’s Liquor Fund is a self-supporting enterprise fund that uses revenue from alcohol sales to fund the operations of the Department of Liquor Control, pay certain debt service obligations, and provide annual transfers to other County funds. The Liquor Fund averaged an annual profit prior to transfers of $29 million between fiscal year 2010 and fiscal year 2014, which ranged from a low of $25 million to a high of $33 million. In the last five years, the Department of Liquor Control has transferred an average of $25.7 million to the general fund each year.