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Reforming Maryland’s Beer Laws

Back in March this year, I talked with Kevin Atticks, the Executive Director of the Brewers Association of Maryland, about Maryland House Bill 1283 and the challenges and problems it presented for Maryland craft brewers.

On Monday, this week, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot held a press conference at the new location for Union Craft Brewing on West 41st Street in Hamden and revealed the findings of his Reform On Tap Task Force, a 40-member group representing every region in the state and made up of brewers, distributors, retailers, consumers and lawmakers from both major parties.

The result of the work that group did is the writing of The Reform On Tap Act of 2018, an act designed to give any planned or existing brewery the same opportunities that Pennsylvania, Virginia, DC and Delaware offer. The Reform On Tap Act of 2018 would change antiquated laws and restrictive regulations that have actually caused some Maryland breweries-in-the-planning to move elsewhere.

Here are some of the highlights of the Reform On Tap Act of 2018:

  • All limits on beer production, taproom sales and take-home sales will be removed.
  • Local town governments will set taproom operating hours.
  • Smaller craft breweries will be able to self-distribute, a term that refers to the distribution to their beer to restaurants, bars and liquor stores by brewery employees.
  • The current restrictions on contract brewing are lifted. Contract brewing refers to the relationship that is set up when a young brewery contracts with a larger operation to brew their beer.

The craft beer industry in Maryland is a vital part of our economy with an overall economic impact of nearly $803 million in 2016 and supporting or creating over 6500 jobs that same year.

So as we give thanks for many things on this special weekend, let’s also give thanks for a very encouraging piece of legislation due for the 2018 Maryland General Assembly session.

Cheers!

Jefferson

100.7 The Bay’s Craft Beer Guy

Email: jward@thebayonline.com

@jwcraftbeerguy

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