Maryland Comptroller's Much-Awaited Beer Reform Proposal Unveiled

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DrinksReform.org has been closely tracking the debate over beer laws in Maryland, including the recent findings of a state task force headed by Comptroller Peter Franchot. According to the Baltimore Sun, the comptroller's office has now officially unveiled a legislative reform proposal that would eliminate restrictive state beer regulations like the limit on taproom brewery sales:

"Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot unveiled a legislative package Monday that would make sweeping changes to the state’s regulation of craft breweries.

Franchot’s 12-point 'Reform on Tap Act of 2018' would eliminate limits on sales from taprooms and for take-home consumption for the state’s breweries. It also would eliminate limits on beer production for breweries that faced caps and let localities set taproom hours.

The proposal is intended to do away with regulations Franchot said have stifled one of the state’s most promising economic engines...

 

The proposal would follow legislation approved earlier this year that quadrupled the amount of beer breweries can serve — up to 2,000 barrels, or close to 500,000 pints. The legislation, designed to pave the way for a new Guinness brewery and taproom in Baltimore County, also stipulated that breweries could serve an additional 1,000 barrels if they sold the beer to a wholesaler, then bought it back, and limited operating hours for new taprooms. Micro-breweries attached to restaurants can serve up to 4,000 barrels on-site.

Franchot’s proposal could set up lawmakers for another lengthy debate about breweries for a second consecutive year..."

Read the whole article here.

Greg Parnas of DCBeer.com, who has been covering the Maryland beer reform efforts extensively, describes the legislation as "an impressive set of reforms that would fundamentally change the legal landscape for breweries operating in Maryland" and make it "among the most brewery-friendly states in the country from a regulatory standpoint." 

Earlier this year, R Street's Jarrett Dieterle interviewed Jim Caruso, CEO of Maryland's Flying Dog Brewery, about the state of beer laws in Maryland.