BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Local brewers say they were blindsided by the House of Delegates this weekend. Lawmakers raised their limit on sales but reduced the hours their taprooms can operate.
Political Reporter Pat Warren reports, the bill is now in the senate. Local brewers supported raising the limits on sales, but cutting their hours was an amendment they didn’t see coming.
Local brewers supported raising the limits on sales, but cutting their hours was an amendment they didn’t see coming.
Baltimore breweries are looking for ways to expand their business, and that included expanding their sales limit.
The House of Delegates this weekend extended brewers’ annual on-site sales from 500 to 2 thousand barrels. But, an amendment to the bill forces the on-site taprooms to close early, shutting down at 9 and 10 p.m. instead of midnight or 2 a.m.
The Brewers Association of Maryland’s was not part of crafting the bill and said that some of the opinions that voiced on-site taprooms interfere with bars are unfounded.
“Breweries in many cases have the same exact licenses that these taverns and bars hold. Now all of a sudden, the legislature is proposing rolling that back,” says Kevin Atticks, with the Brewers Association of Maryland.
Union Craft Brewing says the taprooms’ customers are key to their success.
They’re coming here in droves and they to be here and they want to engage with us,” says Jon Zerivitz, Union Craft Brewing.
“We’re not willing or able to trade barrells for hours,” says Atticks.
“That’s right. We would prefer not to have any legislation pass this year and try again next year,” says Zervitz, with Union Craft Brewing.
The Senate could take up the bill this week.
The House vote was unanimous, but the senate has the power to kill it, amend it, or pass it as is.
Increasing the sales limit helps open the door to a planned Guinness brewery and tourist destination in Baltimore county.