Comparing Michigan vs. Maryland in Best Beer Laws

Every state has its share of outdated alcohol laws, but side-by-side state comparisons can be useful for showing how restrictive laws and regulations can impact the growth of the alcohol industry. John Lee of compares Maryland and Michigan in the beer industry:

"This is a tale of two states and their approaches to local brewers.

The folks at the Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are making 450,000 barrels of beer each year and selling 6,000 of those barrels in their tap room, one pint at a time. That works out to about one and a half million pints. No Maryland brewer comes anywhere close to that.

Founders’ co-founder Mike Stevens says there is no cap on the number of beers a Michigan brewery can sell in its taproom, and that’s been good for business.

'We found that the more breweries that opened and the more tap rooms that opened, the more consumer excitement that followed,' he said.

So, while the craft brewing industry is flying high in Michigan—the Brewers Association ranks it sixth in the nation—a battle brews in Maryland—ranked 25th by the brewers--over loosening regulations.

In Maryland, tap room sales had been capped at 500 barrels a year. That was raised to 2,000 barrels by the General Assembly this year, after Guinness said it wanted to build a brewery and tap house in Baltimore County, and to sell a lot of beer by the pint.

But then lawmakers added a buyback provision. It requires a brewer who wants to sell more than 2,000 barrels, to sell that additional beer to a wholesaler and then buy it back. A brewer can sell an additional 1,000 barrels that way..."

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