Maryland Corkage Law

Posted by Katherine L. Taylor, AttorneyOct 07, 20120 Comments

This past April, Maryland passed a law approving corkage. Corkage is the practice of bringing your own wine to a restaurant that already has a wine menu. Corkage allows patrons to enjoy a wine that is not already stocked by the restaurant. This differs from some Baltimore restaurants BYOB practice, as it only applies to restaurants that already have a liquor license that allows them to serve wine.

According to the Washington Post, there are three conditions set forth by the corkage law:

  1. Underage or intoxicated persons should not be served, even their own wine;
  2. A wine already on the restaurant's list may not be brought in;
  3. Restaurants must obtain a permit from their local liquor board.

Customers should note that restaurants do not have to allow corkage in their establishment. Additionally, restaurants that do allow corkage may charge a corkage fee to open a bottle for diners. The law does not stipulate a maximum or minimum for this fee. The Baltimore Sun asserts that corkage fees can range from $20 to $40 per bottle. Sales tax will apply to the corkage fee.

In Howard County, the Board of License Commissioners has issued a list of requirements pertaining to corkage practices. Included are the notations that patrons must order a meal and that bottles that are unfinished must be either poured out or recorked.