Even though a deal got done in Annapolis over the weekend that will allow Guinness to move into Baltimore County, a group representing craft brewers indicated that they still weren’t happy with all of the laws that govern the flow of beer in the state. Comptroller Peter Franchot, pull up a stool.
On the day after the state legislative session ended, the comptroller visited Attaboy Brewery in Frederick. It wasn’t just for a drink. Franchot announced “Reform on Tap,” a task force that will look at liquor laws from “top-to-bottom.” More meetings at breweries are expected over the next couple months.
The task force is looking to bring together voices from the industry — including the people who drink the booze — to look at how to change what Franchot called “dysfunctional and archaic” liquor laws.
According to the Frederick News-Post, Franchot was critical of the bill that passed in Annapolis.
The compromises reached come down to the details.
The key issue for Guinness was upping the amount of beer that could be sold at a brewery’s taproom. The bill quadrupled the amount of beer that can flow to 2,000 barrels, with an option for as many as 3,000. But brewers weren’t happy that the extra 1,000 would have to be purchased from a wholesaler at a marked-up price.
One version of the bill required breweries to close earlier. That issue was resolved in the final bill for existing breweries, who are allowed to keep their current hours. New breweries, however, will have to close earlier.
Hogan has yet to sign the law, so there could be another round for this legislation even as the task force meetings get underway.
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