House Bill 1052 would restrict how much beer small breweries can serve in their taprooms, potentially hurting the upcoming Streetcar 82 Brewing Co, a Belgian-inspired brewery set to open along the Route 1 corridor later this year.
In a statement on Facebook, the owners of Streetcar 82 said the bill would be “a disaster.”
“This bill will stop us from making a profit,” they wrote. “The most alarming part is that taproom sales for us will be capped at of 25 percent of our production. For every keg of beer we sell, we will need to sell three to distributors. Distributors will NOT help us succeed when they will get more money from established out-of-state beer brands.”
The legislation has been criticized for holding breweries to different standards: Limits on smaller craft brewers would be lowered from 2,000 to 500 barrels, while larger brewers would stay at the same level.
As we’ve noted before, alcohol is fueling the rebirth of the Route 1 corridor, with everything from Franklins and Pizzeria Paradiso to an upcoming meadery and distillery to Streetcar 82 playing a key role. And craft breweries, as noted by James Fallows of The Atlantic, are a leading indicator of a vibrant local civic culture.
Even Guinness, the giant British-owned company building a destination brewery in Baltimore County, has come out against the bill, although it would not be directly affected.
“While we appreciate the support for our brewery project by the Legislature and the collective Maryland beer community, this bill will take us a step backwards from the category growth, beer tourism and job creation we are all working towards,” Guinness said in a statement on the bill.