Small Bites: Hogan Lets Controversial Brewery Bill Become Law

Small Bites: Hogan Lets Controversial Brewery Bill Become Law

Plus: Washington Post food critic tries Bethesda's newest restaurant, Q by Peter Chang

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Brewery equipment at Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring

Bethesda Beat file photo

Hogan lets controversial brewery bill become law without his signature

Gov. Larry Hogan allowed a controversial brewery bill to become law Friday without his signature, a move that enables international liquor producer Diageo to open a new Guinness brewery that the company has planned in Baltimore County. However, Hogan expressed his reservations about the bill.

“House Bill 1283 contains several troubling provisions, which will more than likely prove detrimental to Maryland’s burgeoning craft beer industry—hampering the economic growth, job creation and tax revenue it produces,” Hogan wrote in a letter sent to state House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch on Friday.

The law forces new breweries in the state to operate on-site tap rooms from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.—restricted hours when compared to existing breweries that already stay open much later, some as late as 2 or 3 a.m. The law increases the amount of beer that breweries can serve in their tap rooms from 500 to 2,000 barrels; a measure Diageo said it needed to open its new brewery. Breweries can also sell up to 1,000 more barrels over the 2,000-barrel limit, but only if they buy their own beer from an alcohol distributor. This measure drew consternation from the craft brewing industry and some elected officials, who described it as a handout to distributors, according to The Baltimore Sun.

In his letter, Hogan noted Virginia is already using the new law to promote its more brewery-friendly regulations to try to attract existing Maryland breweries.

“It is clear from the debate surrounding this bill that Maryland’s beer laws—dating back to the end of Prohibition—are in need of reform as they threaten to reverse the incredible growth of our state’s craft brewing industry,” Hogan wrote. “Failing to do so will possibly force new and existing breweries to look outside of Maryland to expand their operations.”

Washington Post food critic enjoys first trip to Q by Peter Chang

Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema tried multiple dishes he liked at Chef Peter Chang’s new flagship restaurant in Bethesda, but he also discovered a couple of issues, according to a recent review. He found the Peking duck appetizer to be “on the dry side” and discovered the restaurant apparently has a problem with answering its phone.

“Would someone—anyone—please pick up the phone when customers call?” Sietsema wrote.

But other than that, he reported the restaurant’s dim sum will keep him coming back on the weekends and that the coral fish “strikes a nice balance between sweet and sassy.” He added that Chang’s signature dishes such as the dry-fried eggplant and double-cooked pork with hot chili paste remain “tried and true.”

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