2021 | Government

Montgomery County restaurants, bars can serve to-go alcohol until 2023

Liquor board doesn’t oppose state’s two-year extension, spokeswoman says

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Caddies on Cordell.

File photo

Restaurant and bar owners in Montgomery County and other parts of Maryland can serve alcoholic drinks to go for another two years, due to a measure Gov. Larry Hogan signed into law.

The Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners temporarily approved a change in March 2020 that allowed restaurants to sell beer and wine for off-premise consumption.

The change came after Hogan’s executive order that closed bars and restaurants for on-site dining due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hogan soon after signed a statewide executive order that allowed alcohol to be sold for carryout and delivery.

On May 18, Hogan signed a bill that extends the period for carryout and delivery of alcoholic beverages, starting July 1 and lasting until June 30, 2023. It applies in any jurisdiction where the local liquor board has authorized to-go sales.

The bill was one of more than 200 that Hogan signed into law last week following this year’s legislative session.

Melissa Davis, a spokeswoman for Montgomery County’s Alcohol Beverage Services department, told Bethesda Beat that the liquor board does not oppose the extension. She did not have additional details, but indicated there might be discussions about it in the future.

Ronnie Heckman, the owner of Caddies on Cordell in Bethesda, told Bethesda Beat on Friday that he supports the law, and said, “Any way to generate more revenue is better.”

Heckman estimated that his establishment makes roughly $2,000 per week from to-go alcohol sales.

“A lot of people leave the bar after last call and they’ll grab a little bit. Or say we’re doing a catering function, or people are picking up a bunch of food to watch football games, or now with the NBA playoffs and NHL playoffs, they’ll pick up their beer from us and they’ll pick up some liquor and they’ll pick up some of our house cocktails in bulk,” he said. “It works. It does what it’s supposed to do and it keeps people coming to our establishment.”

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com