• Maryland Beer & Wine News

    This is an email I received.  I would have linked directly to the content, but I couldn’t find this information on their site.

    The esteemed Robert Parker’s unassailable reputation came under fire recently when an online blogger, Jim’s Loire, alleged that one of Parker’s wine writers was asking for money in exchange for promoting certain Spanish wines (or not writing about them if no money was forthcoming).  The Baltimore Sun picked up on this situation in “Paid to Sip? Wine Scandal Swirls Around Baltimore Critic.”  Parker’s wine writer resigned which only deepened the suspicion even though his associates disputed the allegations (“Wine Critic’s Representative Defends Deals“).  Parker responded that his critic was only charging for his time and pledged to launch a full investigation.  Stay tuned.


    Just in the nick of time, Delegate Sonny Minnick and his brother managed to sell their Dundalk tavern (“State Delegate & Family Leave The Tavern Business”) before his brother goes on trial for paying out on video slot machines, something illegal in Maryland; the bartender alleges that both Minnick’s were aware of the payouts.  While owning Minnick’s Tavern, an establishment with a liquor license, Del. Minnick has served on the House of Delegates’ Alcohol Sub-Committee which regulates liquor licenses.  Some have argued that he is an incredibly informed legislator for holding a license regulated by the very committee on which he serves.  Del. Minnick’s brother has served on the board of the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association, or MSLBA, the main tavern and packaged goods lobby in Annapolis, for some years.  The MSLBA regularly takes positions on bills like direct wine shipping that come before the General Assembly.  Interestingly, General Assembly ethics rules require the member to self-identify any potential conflict of interest, something rarely done according to the General Assembly’s ethics officer.


    Less scandalous, WBAL Radio recently covered the growing number of wineries with the direct shippers permit in Maryland and elsewhere (“Wineries See Boost in Business From Direct Shipping”).  As the holiday season is upon us, many of these wineries are looking to fulfill gift givers’ wishes.  The story can be heard here and was picked up by WJZ and even The Republic of Columbus, IN!


    Three recent articles highlighted the resurgence in craft beer in Maryland.  The recent Sun article about the soon-to-open Union Craft Brewing (“Union Craft Brewing Outlines Plan for Woodberry Brewery“) seems to capture the spirit perfectly as it is one of five new breweries expected to open by next spring in Maryland.  The BBJ ran a piece last week (“Beermeisters Have Sights On New Brewery In Baltimore”) on the formation of Charm City Brewing, “a type of co-op that would help some of the city’s smaller beer companies increase their distribution.”  The following week, they chronicled Duclaw Brewing’s massive move into Harford County (“Duclaw Brewing Plots Massive Expansion In Harford County”).  On a side note, National Bohemian is returning to the Mid-Atlantic for the first time in years (“National Premium Starts Brewing in Delaware“).


    There’s a lot brewing out there.  Let me know if you hear anything else through the grapevine.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).  Happy holidays!


    Tastefully yours,


    Adam Borden
    Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws
    4315 Underwood Road
    Baltimore, MD 21218
    Tel: (443) 570-8102
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MBBWL
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/mbbwl
    Donate: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=2184279

  • Help Change Maryland Beer Laws

    I just received an email from Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws that I thought would be good to share.


    Beer in Maryland
    Beer seems to be returning to the fore as a creative medium with a number of small craft breweries opening or expanding recently in Maryland.  Alas, the laws dealing with them have not kept apace.  For example, craft brewers cannot lawfully sell their beer at farmers markets or self-distribute their products as wineries currently can.  A number of you have been voicing concern over this situation, with one member recently writing in the Baltimore Sun: “[A]llowing micro-breweries to self-distribute … would encourage more to get into the business.  Modifying Maryland’s distribution laws would ultimately benefit consumers by providing greater choice of products made in Maryland. We consumers have been deprived far too long.”


    We are looking to put together a Beer Council to address some of these issues and welcome your participation.  Please email me if you are passionate about beer and want to see more and better choices in the Maryland marketplace.