There are three bills affecting Maryland craft beer that will soon be voted on in Annapolis. Each one is designed to help the growing Maryland craft beer industry continue its substantial growth, either by lifting limits on beer production, or by allowing breweries to sell their beers at new locations. However, there is opposition to all three bills, and there is a chance they will not pass unless you contact your representatives in Annapolis.
The first bill is Senate Bill 226, and it will allow breweries to give out samples and sell their beer at farmer’s markets, as well as the Maryland State Fair, and some county fairs. My one problem with this bill is that it does not include the Anne Arundel County fair, and I think that’s unfortunate for those of us in Naptown. We’ll just make up for it with our ridiculous amount of farmer’s markets.
The next two bills, Senate Bill 445 and House Bill 774, will increase the maximum amount of beer a brew pub can produce from 22,500 barrels to 60,000 barrels per year. Both bills say they affect “Micro-Brewery” licenses and not “pub-brewery” licenses, but that’s just an oddity of Maryland law. Most brewpubs here actually operate under a “Class 7 Micro Brewery License” because the “pub-brewery” license limits them to 2,000 barrels per year, and doesn’t allow them to bottle or can their beer to be sold in stores or bars.
All three bills will help Maryland craft beer. They will likely lead to more jobs, tax revenue for the state, and money from other states as more Maryland beer is exported across the US. Contact your representatives today if you are for (or opposed to) any of these pieces of legislation. I have read and definitely support all three bills, but I still see some room for improvement.
Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee (Senate Bill 445 and Senate Bill 226)
Sen. Joan Carter Conway, Chairwoman, Senate Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs
Sen. Roy Dyson, Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs
Sen. Ed Reilly, District 33, Anne Arundel County
House Economic Matters Committee (House Bill 774)
Del. Derek Davis, Chairman, House Committee on Economic Matters
Del. Charles Barkley, Chairman, House Sub-Committee on Alcoholic Beverages