Real life is seriously keeping me away from updating on a regular basis, but this is worth posting even if it is late (the next several posts will probably be the same).
Last week the Maryland Senate unanimously approved a bill that will allow Maryland breweries to sell their beer at local Farmers Markets, but not before severely limiting which breweries would be allowed to take advantage of the new law. The original bill would have allowed most breweries and brewpubs in Maryland to give away samples and sell beer at county fairs as well as farmer’s markets. However, amendments were made that limit this right to only breweries that produce less than 3,000 barrels of beer per year, and only operating with a specific type of brewery license. Based on all this criteria the only brewery I know of that will be allowed to sell at farmer’s markets will be Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm in Mount Airy, MD.
Of course, this bill will still have to pass in the Maryland House. The first reading of the bill took place in the House Committee on Economic Matters last Monday, and is not yet scheduled for a vote.
Even if this passes, you shouldn’t expect to see a lot of beer being sold at Maryland Farmer’s Markets. Milkhouse Brewery is on an operating farm, and the brewery is a small part of that business. They’re not likely to make it to markets far from the brewhouse.
The good thing about the limits of this bill is that it will give small start up breweries and nano-breweries a key advantage over larger breweries. Startup breweries will have a unique way to sell their beer and meet their customers until they hit the 3,000 barrel limit, and nano-breweries that stay under 3,000 barrels will always have a unique way to sell their beers.