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I've been to multiple combination bars/beer stores, where you can either buy bottles to go, or drink them on premises. If you buy a bottle to go, it costs the base price, but if you buy one to drink there, you have to pay an additional "corking" fee. Is this due to licensing or tax laws, or just a way for a store to make a quick extra buck? I know that restaurants will charge you this same type of fee if you bring in your own bottle of wine, but I don't understand why a beer store would charge you this for drinking a bottle of beer that you bought from them.

  • In some countries there is a different amount of VAT, depending on whether you take beverages/food with you or not. Might be related, or at least an excuse. – PlasmaHH Feb 5 '14 at 12:04
  • @PlasmaHH Good point. I observed in the UK there were different prices for sitting down vs carrying out – Brian Nickel Feb 5 '14 at 18:25
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about legistlation and can be different depending on country. – Lucas Kauffman Feb 5 '14 at 18:39
  • I don't know that legislation about beer should be considered off topic, but the question as it currently stands is a little broad. The question could be narrowed to a country or region. – object88 Feb 5 '14 at 19:18
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    @BrianNickel: In italy there are even sometimes different prices depending on where you are sitting... – PlasmaHH Feb 5 '14 at 21:06
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Reviewing various state regulations on GoBYO, corking fees generally do not appear to be mandatory but instead optional for establishments that already have liquor licenses.

Beverage sales generally represent some of the highest profit items for restaurants. Soda tends to have the highest margins since it is so cheap, but alcohol is easily a 200% or higher margin and sells per bottle/glass. If people can bring in their own beverages without paying, or just paying cost, it dramatically reduces the amount of money a restaurant can make.

For a retail beer store that lets you drink on premises, it's possible that they are now dealing with two sets of rules, one for selling and one for consumption, or that they have to take on higher insurance liabilities. You're also transforming retail space into dining space creating an opportunity cost. This would justify an increased cost. It would probably also wreck their general retail business if they tried not charging a corking fee. If you knew of a bar where you could buy beer at retail cost, wouldn't you go there all the time?

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    This is mostly correct. Having owned a restaurant in Thailand where it's typical for a customer to stay ALL day and drink BYO whisky and still expect full service. My point is service costs and has to be taken into account. We made most of our profits on soda then ice then beer and nothing on spirits since it traditional in Thailand not to apply corkage or stop customers from byo-ing. – EddyR Feb 17 '14 at 23:58
  • Also, unless you're drinking it straight out of the bottle, the store is providing, cleaning, and accepting some breakage loss on the glassware. – Monica Cellio Dec 5 '16 at 16:35

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