About the Reform on Tap Act of 2018
Citing the significant economic, fiscal and community contributions of Maryland's craft brewers and the industry's immense potential, Comptroller Peter Franchot has submitted legislation for consideration during the 2018 Maryland General Assembly Session that would fundamentally reform the antiquated laws and burdensome regulations that govern the state’s craft breweries.
The Reform on Tap Act of 2018 proposes the following:
• Removes all limits on beer production, taproom sales and take-home sales;
• Repeals the "buy-back" provision that requires brewers to purchase their beer from distributors at a marked-up cost if they exceed the 2,000-barrel limit on taproom sales.
• Lifts unnecessary restrictions for take-home sales;
• Guarantees the issuance of Class B or D beer licenses to microbreweries upon request;
• Lets local jurisdictions set guidelines for taproom operating hours;
• Allows smaller brewers to self-distribute;
• Eliminates franchise law requirements; and
• Removes restrictions on contract brewing that inhibits start-up businesses.
The legislation reflects the findings of the Comptroller's Reform on Tap Task Force, which held eight meetings during this summer and fall to get a better grasp of the state's current laws and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for craft brewers. The 40-member task force represented every region in the state and industry stakeholders including brewers, distributors, retailers, consumers and lawmakers from both parties.
An economic impact study conducted by the Bureau of Revenue Estimates found that in Maryland, the craft beer industry had an overall economic impact of $802.7 million and supported or created 6,541 jobs in 2016. The industry contributed nearly $110 million in local, state and federal revenues, which directly supports investments in education, public safety, transportation and the environment.
Still, the state is a net importer of craft beer, meaning it consumes more (275,000 barrels) than it produces (247,000 barrels). Furthermore, the National Brewers Association ranked Maryland 47th in economic impact, 36th in number of breweries and 25th in gallons produced per adult aged 21 years and over – all indications that the state's craft beer industry has plenty of room to grow if the arbitrary restrictions currently in place are lifted.
More information about the Comptroller’s legislation can be found in the documents below.
Reform on Tap Task Force Archival Materials
In response to the passage of House Bill 1283 during the 2017 Legislative Session and with the goal of modernizing Maryland’s beer laws and promoting economic growth across the State, Comptroller Peter Franchot established “Reform On Tap” Task Force in April 2017.
The task force, chaired by Comptroller Franchot, was composed of 40 members representing key stakeholder groups within the beer industry, and conducted a comprehensive review of the State’s antiquated laws that govern the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of Maryland craft beer.
The Task Force held 8 public meetings and 2 town hall meetings across the state. Video proceedings of Task Force meetings can be found in the Task Force’s official Facebook page.
The following are documents and materials that were distributed during task force meetings.
- May 24, 2017
• PowerPoint Presentation by Jeffrey Kelly, Director of the Comptroller’s Field Enforcement Division. Topic: Maryland’s Beer Laws: Overview and Historical Perspective
• Handout materials from Pete Johnson, manager of state and regulatory affairs, National Brewers Association. Topic: Maryland’s Craft Beer Environment: A National Perspective
• PowerPoint Presentation by Kevin Atticks, Executive Director of Brewers Association of Maryland; Allison Burr-Livingstone, Vice President of Public Affairs, Visit Baltimore; and Mayor Jake Day of Salisbury, MD. Topic: Why It Matters: The Economic Impact of Maryland’s Craft Beer Industry
- June 7, 2017
• Comparative Charts of Neighboring States Manufacturing Laws: