BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Local brewers are raising their glasses to a proposal that would lift restrictions on craft beer sales in Maryland.
The state’s chief alcohol regulator has a plan for the next legislative session.
Here’s the plan: Make all you want, sell it where you want, and stay open as late as you can.
Union Craft Brewing is one of many in the craft beer industry that will gain from a reform.
A bill proposed for 2018 would lift state restrictions on how much craft brewers can produce, where they can sell it, and the hours they can serve it.
“A lot of people say what’s the definition of a craft brewery? My definition of a craft brewer is a brewer that’s located in the great state of Maryland,” said Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. “And doggone it, we ought to start welcoming, appreciating, and thanking this unbelievable sector.”
Franchot, who’s also the chief alcohol regulator, wants to undo what he considers damaging regulations limiting the operating hours for local brewery taprooms passed by the general assembly this year.
“This is about doing the right thing by the state of Maryland, and by these wonderful businesses,” he said.
Franchot proposes putting hours of taproom operation in the hands of local governments.
The proposal would also lift the limits on distribution, remove the limits on taproom and take home sales, and eliminate special event requirements for sales, among other deregulations.
And this opens a new debate on how to make it prosper.
Franchot was also a driving force behind changing the state law to allow Marylanders to order alcohol through the mail.
The Bureau of Revenue Estimates reports the craft beer industry in Maryland had an overall economic impact of $800 million and 6,500 jobs in 2016.