A recent poll shows that a majority of Marylanders favor being able to buy beer and wine at chain stores, despite the fact it's illegal for most chain stores in the state to hold a liquor license.
A poll conducted in late September by Gonzales Research found that 64 percent of Marylanders favor being able to buy beer and wine at chain stores.
The issue crosses party lines. The poll found that 56 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans believe chain stores should be able to sell beer and wine.
The poll was conducted for Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws (MBBWL), an advocacy group that has supported repealing laws that ban chain stores from receiving liquor licenses.
Adam Borden, president of MBBWL, said Gonzales was chosen because it was conducting a statewide poll about other questions and is regarded as one of the top tier polling outlets in Annapolis.
Gonzales Research wrote that they interviewed 813 registered voters across the state by telephone to obtain the results. Gonzales reported a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
"The results are really clear," said Borden. "It seems like an overwhelming majority clearly want this."
Attempts to contact a spokesperson for the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association for its opinion on the poll were not successful on Wednesday afternoon.
Patch ran its own unofficial poll back in May. A total of 1,359 people voted in the poll, which found that 34 percent believed all alcohol should be sold in grocery stores, 26 percent said only beer and wine and 34 percent said no alcohol should be sold.
The months-long battle over a proposed liquor store inside the newly opened Columbia Wegmans showed locals just how fierce current liquor store owners can fight against a chain store attempting to obtain a liquor license.
Liquor store owners from around the state testified at a series of hearings in front of the Howard County Alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board about how granting the license to the store, which was to be owned by Wegmans' president's husband, would set the precedent for other chain stores to open their own stores and eventually hurt local business.
In the end, the beverage board unanimously denied the license.
Tell us in comments: Do you think you should be able to buy alcohol in chain stores in Maryland?
- POLL: Should Maryland Allow Alcohol Sales in Grocery Stores?
- No Decision on Wegmans Liquor Store
- Beverage Board Votes Down Wegmans Liquor Store
- State Beer and Wine Advocate Disagrees with Liquor License Denial
- No Appeal Planned for Proposed Wegmans Liquor Store