We’ve covered this ground before: DC makes it pretty easy to import alcoholic beverages legally. Tom (with my help) looked at how the law applies to individuals, and now the City Paper’s Young & Hungry blog has covered the commercial side of things. The short version of the rules as they apply to business: pay a reasonable fee, register the purchase, pay the taxes, and you’re good to go. The question is, with rules that lax, why would anybody break them?
How did this come to be? I’ve long suspected that the rules were first engineered by congressmen who wanted to be able to support the distillers, brewers, and vintners in their jurisdictions (although they’re not known for having much trouble breaking their own rules). I think since then the incentives have become all too clear. DC is a small enough market that distributors don’t have enough economy of scale to operate profitably, and the perpetually short-staffed DC government would rather make it easy to comply and pay taxes, instead of having to fund enforcement. Their budget constraints are our gain. Prosit!
The week’s biggest food news? Obviously the 2011 RAMMY noms. We Love DC eater Ashley writes that a few restaurants like Bourbon Steak, Citronelle, and Equinox show up a number of times, “but there are a few dark horses out there like Ted’s Bulletin, The Majestic and Liberty Tavern to round out the competition.” The winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 26th, and voters will be able to fill out a ballot that will run in the April 28th issue of The Washington City Paper or online. Check out the full list.
Actually, even bigger: the James Beard Award nominees! Up for Best Chef Awards (in the Mid-Atlantic region) are Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Johnny Monis of Komi, and Obelisk’s Peter Pastan. The only national chef or restaurant nomination was for the ubiquitous Jose Andres for “Outstanding Chef.” I back anyone behind Zaytinya, Minibar and Oyamel.