Md. on-farm breweries go into law later this summer
By MICHEL ELBEN
Mount Airy, Md. — Frederick County farmer Adam Frey has a lot of paperwork to do now that Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has signed the on-farm brewery bill into law on May 22.
The bill goes into effect on July 1, 2012.
“We’re busy, busy, busy,” said Frey, who grows three acres of hops on his farm. He will sell the beer under the name Frey’s Brewing Company.
The Alcoholic Beverages–Farm Brewery Manufacturer’s License, also known as House Bill 1126 and Senate Bill 579, created a Class 8 license which specifies that the brewery will be charged an annual fee.
The farmer can also sell and deliver beer manufactured in a facility on the licensed farm or in another facility to specified persons; it requires that the beer is manufactured in a specified manner; and specifies the privileges that may be exercised by a licensee.
The privileges include providing samples of beer, selling food, storing beer, and brewing and bottling the beer.
The bill, sponsored by Del. Kelly Schulz, R-Dist. 4A, produced a new category of brewery licenses for farm breweries, allowing farmers to sell beer that contains a Maryland agricultural ingredient.
A farm brewery is similar to an on-farm winery.
In Maryland, a winery makes and sells its wine from the grapes grown on the farm’s vineyard, and a farm brewery makes and sells beer from ingredients grown on the farm.
In Maryland, farm breweries are different from other breweries because they are allowed to sell certain food items including pizza, ice cream, cured meats, chocolates, chili and soups, bread, cheese, salads and vegetables.
The license carries a $200 annual fee — less than the $500 fee for a microbrewery or brewpub and the $1,500 fee for a standard brewery.
Frey, who has been growing hops commercially for two years, said he was not sure when he would open because of he is currently in the midst the state and federal permitting process.
“Little stuff like that really affects you time-wise,” Frey said. Frey said he hopes to be ready by a planned July 1 inaugural date.