A liquor license holder in Maryland may now be issued more than one restaurant liquor license.
Effective July 1, 2018, House Bill 2018-1003, now Chapter Laws 225, authorizes a single individual to hold multiple Class B, beer, wine, and liquor licenses or equivalent licenses issued by different local liquor licensing boards for restaurants, hotels, or motels.
Nancy Hudes has focused experience advising chain restaurants and other with multiple restaurant locations about alcoholic beverage licensing matters.
The number of licenses that a single individual may hold is only limited by the cap imposed by each local liquor licensing board on the licenses that the board issues. The licenses may be issued for use by the license holder, a partnership, a corporation, an unincorporated association, or a limited liability company.
In Maryland, a Class B beer, wine, and liquor license allows a restaurant, hotel, or motel to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on and/or off premises, depending on the license.
State law had before the bill generally limited the number of alcoholic beverages licenses that may be issued to a single license holder to one.
However, there were express exceptions in some jurisdictions. For example, with certain specified requirements, Montgomery County authorizes a single license holder to obtain up to 10 Class B beer, wine, and liquor licenses. Other jurisdictions issue other classifications of licenses that authorize alcoholic beverages to be sold in a restaurant, hotel, or motel. For example, Anne Arundel County issues a Class BLX license that may be used to sell beer, wine, and liquor in a luxury-type restaurant in the 27th legislative district of the county, and Montgomery County issues a Class BD-BWL license that authorizes the sale of beer and wine for on- and off-premises consumption and authorizes the sale of liquor for on-premises consumption. Those local provisions, although found in State law arguably contradicted the general State law as recodified by the legislature two years ago.
And then last year, the Maryland Attorney General’s office gave advice that a license holder that has a Class B license in one jurisdiction cannot have another Class B license in another jurisdiction. With that advice a prospective restaurant owner on Pratt Street in Baltimore was told by the local liquor licensing board that it would not approve a license for that location when the licensee already had a license at a restaurant in Annapolis.
House Bill 1003 was enacted to clarify and correct the apparent inconsistencies.
Now Maryland law authorizes a single individual to hold multiple Class B alcoholic beverage licenses issued by different local liquor licensing boards for restaurants, hotels, or motels.