He says it would help the craft beer industry thrive.
Annapolis, Md (KM). A petition drive is underway in Maryland to show support for the state’s craft beer industry. Comptroller Peter Franchot says residents are urged to go on line and sign the petition backing a bill to reform the state’s beer regulations and allow craft brewers the opportunity to compete. “So that they have a friendly, welcoming, supportive atmosphere in Maryland with the government on their side to help them produce these great products,” he says. “It’s a huge potential manufacturing sector for the state of Maryland.”
Franchot chaired a 40-member committee called “Reform on Tap” to come up with recommendations to update Maryland’s beer laws. The panel developed the “Reform on Tap Act of 2018.” He says it would remove all limits on craft beer production, taproom sales and take home sales, as well as let counties set guidelines for taproom hours.
He says the current laws hold back the industry from expanding. One part of the law requires brewers to enter into a franchise agreement with distributors to sell their products, rather than a contract. “It’s easier to get divorced in Maryland than it is to get out of one of these franchise agreements. The brewers are understandably very, very hesitant about signing them,” says Franchot.
Also, the current had an impact on a local craft brewery. “Flying Dog announced recently that a $54-million expansion ,long planned, of their brewing operation in Frederick has been put on permanent hold because of what the Legislature did,” he says.
For citizens who want to sign the petition, they can go to www.marylandtaxes.com. Franchot says he would like see at least 6,541 names on the petition, which represents the number of jobs supported by the state’s craft beer industry. Franchot says the petition will be presented to legislator in Annapolis on February 1st, 2018. That kicks off “FeBREWary,” Maryland’s month long celebration of its craft beer industry.
The Board of Revenue Estimates says the state’s craft beer industry had an impact of f$637.6-million on Maryland’s economy in 2016. The state’s craft breweries directly employ 430 workers, and had an indirect effect on 264 jobs. Those employees receive a total of $28.4-million in wages. The craft brewers generate $143.7-million in economic output.
By Kevin McManus