Sears Roebuck Complex

Reform On Tap Act of 2018

Medfield, Baltimore, MD (Nov. 20, 2017)

Comptroller Peter Franchot introduced The Reform on Tap Act of 2018, A World Without Limits. This proposed bill attempts to overturn years of dysfunctional Maryland beer legislation, including HB1283. As the Comptroller envisions, enacting the Act’s 12 provisions will “elevate Maryland’s position in the craft beer industry from last in the region to first in the nation”. 

Reform on Tap Act of 2018
Reform on Tap Act of 2018

The Reform on Tap Act of 2018 has 12 key provisions, summarized below.

  • Place no limits on taproom sales, production or take-home sales. Also, eliminate those pesky restrictions for contract brewing, brewery tours, and special events.
  • Repeal of the crazy “buy-back” provision for production breweries.
  • Let local governments determine hours of taproom operations.
  • Brewers producing less than 300,000 barrels of beer annually are not subject to franchise laws or self-distribution limits.

The unveiling took place in Medfield, Baltimore at the former Sears distribution center, now the Union Collective (a conglomerate of manufacturers, including Union Craft Brewing). The comptroller’s staff, Maryland State Senator Ron Young, and a cast of craft beer industry professionals delivered the details on this proposed legislation. Even Howard County’s Randy Mariner, co-owner of Manor Hill Brewery, Victoria Gastro Pub, Manor Hill Tavern and the soon-to-open Food Plenty, threw his support behind this legislation.

Randy Mariner speaks at the Reform on Tap Act of 2018 unveiling.
Randy Mariner of Manor Hill Brewing

Although Reform on Tap seems a slamdunk, the evening news and local papers covered some opposing opinions. On the WBAL-TV 11 News, wholesalers like Bond Distribution spoke out against it, citing potential job losses. The Baltimore Sun quotes Economic Matters Committee chair, Del. Dereck Davis saying, “I’m trying to figure out what problem we’re trying to correct”.

But we know Maryland’s current laws are hindering the craft beer industries growth in the state. Flying Dog has postponed their destination brewery expansion, citing uncertainty in Maryland’s General Assembly, particularly after HB1283’s enactment. Kevin Atticks, President of the Brewers Association of Maryland, has first-hand knowledge that Ballast Point Brewery had selected a Maryland location for a future brewery but opted for Virginia instead. The negative Maryland laws were crucial in Ballast Point’s final decision.

Let your Maryland representatives know that the Reform on Tap Act of 2018 will help Maryland and its craft beer industry. The more often, the better. Click here to find your state reps.

Let’s make Maryland craft beer industry great again.





3 thoughts on “Reform On Tap Act of 2018

  1. As with most ideas there are unintended consequences. I suspect having no limit on tap rooms sales will ultimately have a negative effect on small craft breweries. Why? Because now large breweries will have an incentive to open large tap rooms. I think you’ll see more deals like the Guinness Tap Room and ultimately the taprooms backed by macro breweries will dominate the landscape making it difficult for small craft breweries to compete/exist.

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