Cumberland Times-News

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November 7, 2013

Veterans clubs oppose some new liquor board rule proposals

Changes could restrict customers, hurt business

CUMBERLAND — Representatives of numerous veterans clubs in Allegany County spoke out at the county’s liquor board meeting Thursday, claiming that certain regulations being proposed would restrict customers and hurt business.

The board is in the process of streamlining regulations and will finalize that process at its public meeting Dec. 10 at the Allegany County Office Complex.

Of particular concern among the 50 or so attendees was a regulation that would limit nonmembers to three visits annually.

“... after that, the individual must become a member of said club (to enter),” the regulation reads.

Ben Singleton, representing Fort Cumberland American Legion Post 13, said that by congressional edict not everybody is eligible to become a member. A certain level of military service is required, Singleton pointed out.

Bob Englebach of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1411 asked the board to exempt veterans clubs from that requirement should it be approved.

“This is an informational meeting,” said board member Ronald Miller. “All input will be considered before we propose final regulations for the Dec. 10 meeting.”

Board chairman Mike Griffith said a regulation requiring that alcoholic beverages cannot be sold for less than the wholesale cost paid by the club is a state law. He also said that by recent state law, the regulations do not apply to fire companies.

A clear answer was not available when one club representative asked if glasses of draft beer could be sold below wholesale unit cost if a profit was already made on the first half of the keg.

Griffith said that question will be considered before Dec. 10.

Based upon ongoing prices for a keg, Griffith said a cup would have to cost at least 45 to 50 cents to adhere to the law.

There seemed to be general approval among the club officials for a regulation stating “Bartenders shall not consume alcohol beverages or spirits while on duty or within one hour of starting work.” One representative pointed out, however, that a bartender could refrain from drinking for one hour before work, but still be intoxicated from earlier alcohol consumption.

Among the other proposed regulations:

• Retailers must purchase alcoholic beverages and spirits from wholesalers only.

• Security access to clubs shall be by keys or key cards.

• The term “members and guests” must be listed on any advertising for any event or function sponsored by the club.

• A liquor licensee must prominently display traders license, health permit and alcohol license.

• All licensed establishments with Sunday sales must have a full food menu available to customers.

• Patrons may not bring their own bottles of liquor into any licensed establishment.

Griffith said written comments will be accepted. To inquire, call the board at 301-724-6485.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

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