24 February 2010

More Legislative Stuff, Eastern Shore Division (Bonus!: A Success Story!)

Think about this:  In order for beer stores in Wicomico County, Maryland (down there around Salisbury?  You pass through it on your way to Ocean City?), to consider offering beer tastings, it takes an act of the state legislature...... but wine tastings are already just fine, thank you........

Bottle shops could host free beer tastings in Wicomico County under legislation moving through the General Assembly, one of several bills that would tweak the county's alcohol regulations."The tastings would be for higher-end craft beers. [Evolution Brewing] would definitely be in there, Dogfish Head, the Belgians, the Rogue line," said Mike Vizard, owner of Cheers! Beer & Wine in Salisbury.
Vizard already hosts wine tastings at his store and wants to let patrons sample high-end beers as well, he said. This week, the Economic Matters Committee held a hearing on the beer tasting bill, which went "very well," said Jim Mathias, D-38B-Worcester, one of the delegates who introduced the bill on behalf of Wicomico County. A bill in the Senate would also allow beer tastings in the county.
Sen. Richard Colburn, R-37-Dorchester, has introduced legislation that he says makes the county more enticing to microbreweries. The Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee is scheduled to hear Colburn's bills Friday. Colburn's legislation would authorize the sale of refillable containers known as "growlers" and would expand the locations where microbreweries and brewpubs can build in the county. Currently, brewpubs and microbreweries can only be built on Enterprise Zones within Salisbury, but Colburn's bill would expand the locations to any county Enterprise Zone.
 More interesting information on Evolution Brewing is in the article:

Colburn has his sights on Evolution Brewing Co., he said. Less than a year after opening, Evolution Brewing has already outgrown its Delmar, Del., facility as the company can't make enough beer to keep up with demand, Tom Knorr, a co-owner, told The Daily Times in an interview last month."This allows them to move their facility from Delmar, Del.," Colburn said, "to Salisbury or Fruitland, or an Enterprise Zone in Wicomico County, to be more specific."
Tom Knorr and his brother, John Knorr, own several restaurants in the county, including Sobo's Wine Beerstro and Specific Gravity Pizzeria. They originally planned to build a restaurant and brewery at the former Union train station in Salisbury. However, they scrapped the plans and moved to Delaware after the city told them they must pay $168,000 for a sewer connection upgrade. Once at the Delmar facility, the brothers decided to focus exclusively on making beer and dropped the restaurant idea.
Tom Knorr could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
 It would be most interesting to hear his comments.  As I was to understand it, they set up shop in an old IGA "supermarket" a mere couple hundred feet over the state line in Delaware specifically because the local government--and, presumably, the laws in question being considered for updating in Annapolis--proved too onerous for them to deal with.  (As I was told, the major sticking point was environmental impact fees proposed by the city of Salisbury.)

The entire Salisbury Daily Times article is worth a read.


Andrew said...

Genius stuff from the city of Salisbury/state of Maryland. Oh, young business owners want to expand their already successful restaurant operations into a full-scale brewery that would deliver beers bearing the words "Brewed in Salisbury, MD" all over the East Coast? They must be stopped with all of the bureaucratic wranglings that we can muster! Lord knows Dogfish Head hasn't been an economic boon to the Delaware beach region!"

Ray Wisniewski said...

I rather they would carry the Delmar, Delaware location. Lord knows we need the boost.