This blogpost at the Washington City Paper's "Young and Hungry" blog does a good job of concisely explaining how certain Washington, D.C. bars like (famously) the late Brickskeller, and more recently R.F.D, Pizzera Paradiso, ChurchKey, Meridian Pint, and other such beer bars have been able to--legally--offer exotic beers that are not seen in the adjacent Virginia and Maryland markets, or for that matter almost anywhere else on the Atlantic Seaboard, at least commercially.
In short, there's a perfectly legal way for the bar's owner to load up (or have an employee load up) a six-pack, case, keg, or truckload of any certain beers not available through standard distribution in D.C. and bring it back for resale. The cost for these special privileges? Five dollars, plus the requisite excise taxes on the beer. (Oh, and the fuel, van wear and tear, or whatever shipping costs.)
Compare this to the proposed $200 permit to be assessed to any non-Maryland winery that wishes to ship directly to Maryland customers.
Read all about it here.
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