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Nov 20, 2009 06:37 AM

Where is liquor cheapest? MD, VA or DC?

I've purchased booze from state-run liquor stores in Virginia, a number of different shops in DC, and at least one place in Maryland.

Aside from any potential legal restrictions in purchasing alcohol in one jurisdiction and consuming it in another, is there a consensus on what parts of the DC metropolitan area are cheapest for buying generic, non-specialty liquors are cheaper?

I'm basically wondering if there's a potential I'll save a couple bucks buying medium-grade vodkas and rums in Virginia or Maryland over DC (or vice versa).

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    1. Maryland has low liquor taxes, but Montgomery County has an arcane alcohol distribution center that jacks up the price tremendously.

      I don't know if MD overall is cheaper than VA or DC, but if it is it's not the Montgomery County part of MD.

      4 Replies
      1. re: reiflame

        Most of Maryland doesn't have nearly as weird liquor laws as Montgomery County.

        1. re: Hal Laurent

          None of Maryland has liquor laws like MoCo; we're "unique".

          1. re: reiflame

            Unique is right. We are the only county in the US with county-run liquor stores. Add to that the county monopoly on beer and wine distribution, and you have something that only occurs once in the multiverse (at least in the known universe).

            1. re: pgreen

              the only good thing about MoCo is its recycling program. They basically take everything. I try really hard to buy my alcohol in VA or the other counties in MD.

      2. In general, DC has the lowest prices, but the VA and Montgomery County stores occasionally have sales that are pretty good.

        There's no restriction about buying it in one place and drinking it in another, but there's a limit to how much you can carry across a state line. When I was in college, particularly around holiday times, Virginia cops (of whatever variety they were) would park at the Virginia end of Key Bridge and post a lookout at the DC end watching for people leaving the liquor store just at the Georgetown end of the bridge loading multiple cases into their cars. I don't know if they still do that.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MikeR

          they used to snag folks going back into MD at Chevy Chase Circle and Friendship Heights, too. Especially around holiday time. But I've got no idea if they still do.

        2. This is a little out of the way, but in Point of Rocks maryland is where my friends and I go. We find if you are going to spend some money on booze, that's the place you save the most money. But again, we live only about 15 miles from there so it does work for us.

          1 Reply
          1. re: themeatguy

            There is a little finger of WVA in that area that is also apparently a really good place to buy cigarettes. Used to work with a lot of smokers and one woman lived in that area and would buy for people b/c so cheap.

          2. Been thinking about this recently and comparing prices at Montgomery DLC to places in DC, NOVA, and PGC. I know that people gripe about the liquor law set-up in MoCo (though I honestly don't know the specifics of the laws) but just comparing prices, I gotta say, MoCo is the cheapest place to buy booze in the region. Whnr you factor in their frequent sale prices, you can really score some bargains. For example, Aberlour 16 is almost $20 a bottle cheaper right now at sale price in MoCo than it is in DC or PGC.

            3 Replies
            1. re: The Big Crunch

              The cheapest liqour store I have found is White Oak
              11239 New Hampshire Avenue
              Silver Spring, MD 20904
              Phone: 240-773-2026
              or the Magruder's of Chevy Chase

              both have very good specials weekly.

              As far as legal restrictions I have never had a problem

              1. re: The Big Crunch

                Is that really still true with MD's 9% sales tax on alcohol?

                1. re: reiflame

                  To my surprise it was still cheaper the only thing cheaper is buying liquor at the Delaware Costco off I95