Guinness parent company Diageo came out against a recently introduced Maryland bill that would limit the amount of beer craft breweries can produce while allowing a forthcoming Guinness brewery in Baltimore County to remain unscathed.
“We at Guinness were surprised by the introduction of HB 1052 and we do not support this bill,” wrote Dwayne A. Kratt, Diageo’s government affairs director. “While we appreciate the support for our brewery project by the Legislature and the collective Maryland beer community, this bill will take us a step backwards from the category growth, beer tourism and job creation we are all working towards.”
While Kratt did praise last year’s House Bill 1283, the legislation needed for Guinness to set up shop that caused Comptroller Peter Franchot to launch his Reform on Tap Task Force after craft brewers said it would hurt their business, he said “there is always room for improvement” in the the beer industry.
That could be a signal that Diageo might support Franchot’s bill, the Reform on Tap Act of 2018, that would loosen regulations across the board.
“While we are focused on getting our brewery completed and open to the public this summer, Guinness is committed to being a part of Maryland’s vibrant beer industry,” he wrote. “As such, we will continue to work with and stand by our friends across the industry to help promote growth, beer tourism and job creation in Maryland.”
Franchot is appearing at Wet City tonight to discuss his bill.
Both Franchot’s beer bill and the beer bill that would roll back barrel limits, House Bill 1052, introduced by Dels. Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore) and Dereck Davis (D-Prince George’s County), are scheduled for hearings on Feb. 23.
This post has been updated.