From the office of Sen. Barry Glassman:
Senator Barry Glassman, (R) 35, North Harford County, is offering his support for a new class of brewing license which would potentially aid all Maryland farmers looking to create their own small craft brewery.
As it currently stands anyone with a micro brewery under what is known as a Class 5 License must be attached to a restaurant license as well. This proposes difficulties for anyone not owning a restaurant looking to brew beer in small amounts.
This proposed license would mirror that of the Limited Wineries legislation. It would not harm the integrity or change the structure of the “Three Tier System.” Furthermore, it would allow for the brewing of beer on the premises of a farm in limited quantities. The beer could then be sold on premises in different quantities, as well as shipped to other restaurants or pubs. It would also require that a certain percentage of the products used to brew the beer to be grown on the premises of the farm.
Senator Glassman recently attended a meeting with the Brewers Association of Maryland (BAM). BAM relayed their concerns regarding the limitation on breweries, as well as voicing what they see as some of the potential benefits. According to BAM, this new law is an attempt by local breweries to make their product more viable to wholesalers, as well as address an area of the beer market which they feel can be profitable. One of their goals is to be able to sell beer which they can advertise as something which is truly an “All Maryland Product.”
Glassman said, “The great thing about this new market in addition to helping Maryland farmers, is that it is good for the environment. For instance, barley is an approved cover crop in Maryland and malting barley requires very little nitrogen fertilizer.”
Senator Glassman plans to introduce this legislation during the current 2012 Legislative Session and is working with western Maryland Delegate Kelly Schulz (R), 4, Carroll and Frederick Counties.
Maryland’s limited winery licenses have been a boost to Maryland efforts to expand local grape production and Glassman hopes the farm brewer concept will do the same for helping agriculture to capitalize on the “wide” craft beer market.