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Farmhouse Beer May Help Md. Farms & Waterways

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Locally grown most often means farm-raised food. Well, one local grower wants to expand that to farmhouse beer.

Alex DeMetrick reports now it’s an untapped market.

Adam Frey’s farm is family owned. He’d like to keep it that way, but in a global market it isn’t easy.

“If somebody in Brazil can release a bushel of soy beans for 10 cents, you gotta go up against that, and we’re trying to offset that a little bit because we’re trying to do beer,” Frey said.

Beer is a product not normally associated with Maryland farms. Frey is trying to convince state legislators to allow the kind of micro-breweries you see in cities to be built and operated on farms.

After all, in this part of Frederick County wineries are thriving.

“There are four vineyards within bike riding distance of this farm,” Frey said. “There’s not a lot of farmhouse breweries out there right now.”

And unlike farms turned into vineyards, making beer means growing a variety of crops. Instead of grapes, barley and wheat would be raised.  These grains make ideal cover crops, which soak up fertilizers before they wash into waterways and the bay.

Hops would also be raised. It’s a tiny crop in Maryland right now, but one needed by beer makers worldwide.

Frey’s plan isn’t so much to turn a farm into a brewery, as it is to brew beer to keep the farm.

“And basically create something more than just a family farm.  Give us a few extra options as far as farming goes.  It’s me against the global market.  We need some kind of buffer in there,” Frey said.

Frey does have supporters for his plan: legislators who will submit a bill in Annapolis to open the door to farmhouse brewing.

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