After more than a year of advocacy from BAM and its members, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to expand the abilities of farm alcohol producers in the agricultural reserve.
From the Washington Post:
The Montgomery County Council voted Tuesday to create rules to attract more wineries and breweries to the county’s protected agricultural reserve.
The measure allows tasting rooms and events at alcohol-related businesses, but it limits the number of events not directly related to agriculture — such as a music festival. It also requires that wineries, breweries and distilleries produce at least some of the crops needed for their products on site.
Many on the council agreed the change was necessary to allow farmers in the agricultural reserve — a 93,000-acre portion of the county where development is severely limited — to find ways to generate enough revenue to maintain their farms.
“The problem we have now is it’s unclear what you can do,” council president Hans Riemer (D-At Large) said in an interview after the meeting. “That is why wineries and breweries have sprung up in neighboring jurisdictions but not here. Same soil, same climate, same region, but the door has really not been open to the industry. I think we will now get a stronger response from people saying, yeah, they’re going to invest and start a business and take that risk.”