Maryland beer bill passes with barrel increase, hour limitations for new breweries

The Baltimore Business Journal reports the latest regarding Maryland's recent beer bill:

"Maryland craft brewers are getting the barrel increase they have sought for years that also paves the way for the new Guinness facility in Baltimore County. But it didn't come without battling several controversial limitations on the way.

The House of Delegates passed House Bill 1283 on Saturday in the final weekend of the General Assembly session by a vote of 119-15. The bill originally passed the House in March but was approved by the Senate with amendments, requiring the bill to get approval again by the delegates.

The bill raises the annual barrel limit for tap rooms from 500 to 2,000, with the potential for brewers to purchase 1,000 additional barrels from wholesalers. It also requires tap rooms to close at 10 p.m. every day of the week, but breweries already open are grandfathered in to the hours set by the local jurisdiction.

Both items were points of contention for the Brewers Association of Maryland and Diageo Beer Co. USA, the parent company of Guinness. The two parties had sought higher barrel limits, but agreed the increase was a step in the right direction..."

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In related news, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, the state's chief alcohol regulator (who vocally opposed HB1283), announced plans to establish a commission to review and suggest modifications to Maryland's alcohol laws: previously covered the legislative machinations surrounding an earlier version of this legislation here.