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Maryland Corkage Law

Posted by Katherine L. Taylor, Attorney | Oct 07, 2012 | 0 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.

About the Author

Katherine L. Taylor, Attorney

Katherine founded Taylor Legal after serving for 10 years as Senior Assistant County Solicitor for Howard County Government, and 7 years as a commercial litigator at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, a premier law firm in Baltimore, Maryland.

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