Here We Go Again: Maryland Legislator Introduces Bill to Limit Brewery Taproom Sales

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Maryland was the scene of an ugly battle over craft beer legislation last year, and the political climate does not appear to be getting any better. A controversial beer bill, HB 1283, was eventually modified to allow breweries in the state to sell 2,000 barrels annually in their taprooms. While brewers in the state were hopeful that this limit would be increased even more in the future--as proposed by Maryland's "Reform on Tap" task force which conducted a review of the state's beer laws--it appears some lawmakers want to move in the opposite direction. The Baltimore Sun reports:

"A bill introduced by Maryland Dels. Talmadge Branch and Dereck Davis seeks to roll back how much beer small breweries in Maryland can serve in their taprooms while allowing larger facilities, such as the one being built in Baltimore County by Guinness, to maintain existing limits.

House Bill 1052 calls for reducing annual limits from the existing 2,000 barrels to 500 barrels at small breweries while allowing large facilities to continue to sell 2,000 barrels of beer — which equates to about 1,800 glasses of beer a day.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, who has proposed legislation to lift all limits, immediately opposed the bill...

Franchot wrote that his legislation, the Reform on Tap Act of 2018, “will eliminate the arbitrary limits and change the laws that benefit corporate beer monopolies at the expense of our local, independent craft brewers.” His reform bill emerged from a task force he put together last year.

He said his bill and the one introduced by Branch and Davis will be heard on the same day in Annapolis — Feb. 23..."

Read the rest here.