Nine Baltimore City Council members back bill to loosen beer regulations

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Nine members of the Baltimore City Council have signed on to a letter supporting the Reform on Tap Act of 2018, Comptroller Peter Franchot’s bill to loosen regulations on craft breweries in the state.

Noticeably absent: Mayor Catherine Pugh and City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young. Baltimore Fishbowl has reached out to the offices of both politicians for comment on their respective stances on the bill.

Council members John Bullock (District 9), Eric Costello (District 11), Zeke Cohen (District 1), Ryan Dorsey (District 3), Bill Henry (District 4), Vice President Sharon Green Middleton (District 6), Leon Pinkett III (District 7), Brandon Scott (District 2) and Shannon Sneed (District 13) all signed the letter calling for the General Assembly to pass the legislation, House Bill 518.

“As elected leaders of Maryland’s county governments, we recognize the important and valuable contributions that local craft breweries make to our communities and to our economies,” the letter says. “These family-owned, local businesses play a vital role in the revitalization of economically disadvantaged areas and support other industries that provide well-paying jobs for thousands of Marylanders.”

In a statement provided by Franchot’s office, Sneed highlighted the community events, including home-buying workshops, held at Oliver Brewing Company in her district.

“Many work with their neighbors to hold family-friendly events and raise funds for the community,” the statement says. “The Reform on Tap Act will help the locally owned and operated craft beer industry by rolling back onerous restrictions and make it easier to compete with large-scale brewers.”

Overall, more than 90 county executives, council members and commissioners signed the letter, including the full endorsement from the councils in Baltimore, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Garrett, Harford, Montgomery, Somerset, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester counties, Franchot’s office says.

“They recognize that if we fail to bring our laws into the 21st century, we risk losing these small businesses to states with more welcoming regulations,” Franchot said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the mayors of Annapolis, Frederick, Cambridge and Ocean City offered their support.

The comptroller is scheduled to testify before the House Economic Matters Committee tomorrow at 1 p.m. about the Reform On Tap Act of 2018. A competing bill, House Bill 1052, which would roll back the amount of beer craft brewers can produce, is being presented at the same hearing.

Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore Business Journal, b and others. Prior to joining Baltimore Fishbowl, he was an editor at City Paper from 2012 to 2017. He can be reached at [email protected]
Brandon Weigel


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