County supports Comptroller’s changes for craft brewers

PRINCESS ANNE — There’s no longer a craft brewer operating in Somerset County but the County Commissioners went on record to support legislative initiatives Comptroller Peter Franchot says will benefit Maryland craft breweries.

House Bill 518 titled the Reform on Tap Act of 2018 came about following meetings by a 40-member task force composed of various stakeholders in the state’s beer industry. The bill is to be heard by the House Economic Matters Committee on Friday, Feb. 23 and would support industry innovators and risk-takers entering this field.

“Current Maryland laws and regulations impose arbitrary limits and heavy restrictions that make Maryland one of the least friendly states for craft brewers,” the comptroller stated. He said these “21st century manufacturers” promote destination tourism and improve the quality of life in their communities.

David and Carolyn Marquis in 2014 formed their Chesapeake Brewing Company while living and operating the Blue Crab Café in Crisfield, but it closed at the end of 2015 and they relocated their brewing business and tavern to Annapolis. They have both expressed support for HB 518.

Commissioner Craig Mathies, who is a pastor, abstained when the board took its vote Feb. 13. The bill has no impact on the distillery business, which there is now Spirits of Patriots distillery in Princess Anne.

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