Lawmakers, State Comptroller Battle Over Craft Brewing Bills - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lawmakers, State Comptroller Battle Over Craft Brewing Bills

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 6:31 PM Updated:
(Photo credit: MGN) (Photo credit: MGN)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - In a packed room inside the House of Delegates, lawmakers sitting in committee were sounding off.

Sounding off against State Comptroller Peter Franchot's Reform on Tap Bill, or House Bill 518. The bill would remove production and sale caps for Class 5 craft brewers.

But lawmakers like Democratic Delegate Talmadge Branch of Baltimore City says what the Comptroller is pushing isn't in the right direction.

"We are rolling it back to see if we can get it right," Branch said.

Branch argues the state's current brewing laws are flawed.

To fix them, Branch is proposing a bill nearly opposite the Comptroller's bill, which would restrict the amount craft brewers can produce and sell. Branch's bill, House Bill 1052, would also exempt Guinness in Baltimore County from production and sale restrictions. 

But people like Joe Petro, of the Hair O' the Dog Wine & Spirits Store in Easton, argues restricting craft brewers will only hurt businesses like his.

"Our store benefits tremendously by their growth," Petro said.

The Comptroller's bill, according to Petro, could bring the state untapped potential.

But some argue the Comptroller's bill is simply too much.

"He seems to think his job is to regulate from the bar top. We don't feel that's appropriate for the chief regulator," said Republican Delegate Warren Miller of Carroll and Howard counties.


Miller says the Comptroller's bill is overstepping bounds.

That's why he's pushing another bill - stripping the Comptroller's job to regulating the alcohol industry.

But surrounded by his supporters, Comptroller Franchot says that's wrong.


"It's an immature, petty, vindictive message to me that I should shut up and go away," Franchot said.


A message brewing up a battle of bills and a battle over beer.

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