February 19, 2019
t has been a while since we communicated alcohol happenings in Annapolis so want to let you know that A LOT is going on. Alcohol legislation is being heard this week, and below is a legislative summary so you can contact your elected state representatives. If you don’t know exactly who they are, you can enter your address with this link to find your local Delegate and State Senator. Senate hearings are Friday 2/22 at 1PM; some House hearings were held Monday while others will be later this week. It is still timely to contact your elected officials and let them know how you feel!
We are holding a fundraiser on Thursday, February 21st at Denizens Brewery 7-10pm. Come by for a great locally made brew and help support our efforts to make Maryland more consumer friendly for legally drinking what you want to drink. We hope to see you there!
If you can’t make it to Denizens but want to contribute to our cause to help make Maryland more friendly to craft brewing, wine making and distilling, please consider contributing to the cause:
Thank you for your help in getting engaged in legislative reform! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or how to get involved.
LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT
The General Assembly of Maryland begins hearing all alcohol related bills in Annapolis this week. Delegates and State Senators need to hear from the Maryland public before they vote on these important bills. Marylanders for Better Beer and Wine Laws is asking everyone to please call your elected representatives in the next few days and express your support or concern for this session’s legislation.
Below is a breakdown of the most important 2019 legislation. For the local bills, focus on the county where you live. Please remember to be polite and courteous with all staff.
HB1010/SB801: This CRITICAL bill would (1) make it easier for production breweries to sell beer to go; (2) re-establish the right for new production breweries to operate taprooms; (3) more than double the limit on taproom sales for production breweries; (4) return control of taproom hours to local jurisdiction; (5) double the production limit of micro-breweries;(6) allow micro-breweries to have two locations and sell 5,000 barrels of beer at each place. Please SUPPORT this bill.
HB480/SB508: This bill would create a Maryland brewery promotion fund, paid for by taxes on beer sold in the State, to be used by non-profits or government agencies to encourage beer tourism, research, and other facets of Maryland’s brewing industry. Please SUPPORT this bill.
HB1052/SB703: This bill would (1) remove the authority of the Comptroller to regulate alcohol; (2) create a five member commission, approved by the Senate, to promote greater enforcement of alcohol laws and public awareness of the dangers of craft beer and other alcohol; (3) create a new Executive Director position, approved by the Senate, to enforce alcohol laws. Please OPPOSE this bill.
- We oppose this legislation for the following reasons:
- it removes from direct citizen control the important function of alcohol oversight
- it creates a newly formed entity whose board does not broadly represent consumer perspectives
- it creates an elevated public health imperative that does not exist within the current oversight that could be used to significantly slow down progress or change under the guise that it would negatively impact public health
HB1080/SB704: This bill would allow a craft brewery that makes less than 300,000 barrels a year, which right now is every Maryland owned brewery, to more easily end their distribution agreement with a beer wholesaler. Please SUPPORT this bill.
SB386: This CRITICAL bill would (1) allow alcohol manufacturers and wholesalers to deliver beer to retailers on Sunday and (2) allow bars, restaurants, and breweries to sell alcohol on Sundays. Please SUPPORT this bill.
HB288/SB274: This bill would expand Sunday sales for certain bars in the county. Please SUPPORT this bill.
HB615/SB684: This CRTITICAL bill would (1) expand the limit on how much a micro-brewery can produce; (2) double the limit on how much beer a micro-brewery can sell in its taproom; (3) end the itemized list on what food a farm brewery can serve and allow them to sell beer and food on premises after 6PM; (4) expand self-distribution rights for farm and micro-breweries. Please SUPPORT this bill.
HB333: This CRITICAL bill would (1) end the limits on how much farm breweries and micro-breweries can produce; (2) double the limits on how much beer a micro-brewery can sell in its taproom; (3) end the itemized list on what food a farm brewery can serve and allow them to sell beer and food on premises after 6PM; (4) expand self-distribution rights for farm and micro-breweries. Please SUPPORT this bill.
St. Mary’s County
HB3060: This bill would expand Sunday sales for certain establishments in the county. Please SUPPORT this bill.
HB701: This bill would allow certain establishments to open an hour earlier for Sunday sales. Please SUPPORT this bill.
HB613/SB256: This bill would limit the right of production breweries to sell beer to go. Please OPPOSE this bill.
Hello, my name is [your full name]. I live at [your address], and am calling [Delegate or Senator’s] office today in regards to some alcohol related bills that are being considered next week. I would like to express my support for/opposition to [include either the House or Senate bill numbers] because [insert reason(s) why]. Does [Delegate/Senator’s name] plan on supporting/opposing these bills?
Thank you very much for your time. I plan on following these issues very closely in the future.