The Brewers Association of Maryland participated in a resolution of the issues surrounding HB1283. This process of negotiations—to address the prospect of major restrictions being thrust upon the industry—has been a gut-wrenching experience for members who simply wanted to follow their entrepreneurial dream of opening a craft brewery in Maryland. After negotiations on the bill in the Senate, we reluctantly support the passage of HB1283 as amended by the Senate with the understanding that breweries will continue on their path to modernize Maryland’s beer laws in the years ahead.
The limitations of Maryland’s statutes and regulations on our industry—and the political imperative of bringing a new international brewery to our state—dictated that there would be legislation affecting local brewers this session.
BAM introduced legislation to move our industry forward (HB1420 – “Modern Brewery”); though that bill stalled in the House, some elements have been incorporated into HB1283.
We believe, as we enter the last days of the 2017 legislative session, that HB1283 as approved by the senate, is the best compromise that could be achieved to protect local brewers this year.
HB1283 as passed by the senate provides the following positive provisions:
- Preserves the right of startup brewers to contract brew with other license holders as they grow and expand;
- Increases the limit for on-premise consumption to a level that will allow Maryland Class 5 brewers to grow for a number of years and allow Guinness to operate;
- Extends current on-premise operating hours for existing brewers and those in the licensing process.
Despite these improvements, BAM believes there is much more to be done to transform Maryland law to support local craft brewers. We accept this bill as passed by the Senate—and are asking members of the General Assembly to vote in favor—as a step toward making Maryland friendlier to our industry with the understanding that BAM will continue to support existing, new and prospective Maryland brewers.
We are asking everyone who wants craft brewing to thrive in Maryland to continue to follow this issue as we develop new proposals to move the industry forward in future legislative sessions.