Local liquor stores seek exemptions to single-sale beer ban

Some local liquor stores may still be allowed to sell single bottles of beer and malt liquor if they get a waiver to circumvent a ban on single sales that will take effect in fewer than 10 days.

Representatives from Riverside Liquors, The Wine Specialist and the West End Market, three local liquor sellers, lobbied for the waivers at the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A meeting last week. Each requested exemptions from the ban passed by the D.C. Council last year – though no decisions were made that night.

Chairman Asher Corson said the ANC wanted to come to an arrangement with the businesses, but first needs to work out the specifics. At the meeting, the commission discussed the possibility of allowing exemptions for beers of a certain size or price. A minimum cost of $4 was considered to enable more expensive beers and half-pints smaller than 70 oz. to still be sold.

“Whatever we do for one, we should do for all,” commissioner Eric Malinen said. He told the representatives from each establishment to look at their inventory to help come up with a suggestion as to how the exemption could be structured.

The next regular meeting of the ANC occurs after the ban goes into effect, but Tim Schliftman, a manager at The Wine Specialist at 2115 M St., said he thinks the store will be able to find middle ground with the ban. Issues with litter and public intoxication had been part of the problem that prompted single-sale bans in other parts of the city, but Schliftman suggested some there might be alternative answers to that problem.

“I think we’ll . still be able to serve singles and they’ll be able to curb the loitering,” he said.

Beer sales make up 11.5 percent of The Wine Specialist’s total sales, Schliftman said. He added that the store is having a large sale that will end once the ban goes into effect.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.