Lawmakers to hold hearings on opposing beer bills

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WMAR) - Craft brewers are gathering in Annapolis on Friday to show their support for a bill that would make it easier for them to make and sell their beer.

Lawmakers are set to hold a hearing on that bill and another bill that would put more restrictions on brewers. House Bill 518, known as the Reform on Tap Act, was introduced by State Comptroller Peter Franchot and is meant to change some regulations put upon local brewers. For example, the bill would remove limits on beer production and taproom sales, allow smaller brewers to self-distribute, and remove restrictions on contract brewing.

The other bill proposed, House Bill 1052, is essentially a counter bill to that. It seeks to reduce the limit of barrels breweries can serve in their taprooms from 2,000 to 500, except for larger facilities like the Guinness brewery that is opening in Baltimore County.

On its website, Guinness says it does not support Bill 1052 and it stands by local craft brewers.

On Friday there is also a gathering at the Chesapeake Brewing Company in Annapolis at 5 p.m. in support of the Reform on Tap Act.

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