Maryland’s Buy Local Mandate

I was paging through my google reader earlier today when I noticed a Washington Post story about how Maryland is struggling to catch up with Virginia in microbreweries.

The story was titled: Maryland beer: New law is a license to swill (onsite). How cool, I thought, that Maryland was finally playing some catch up on this.

That is, until I scrolled down and read this paragraph:

They [the breweries] don’t actually have to be on farms, according to the legislation. But they do have to use Maryland-grown ingredients — grains, hops or fruit — in their beers. (No minimum percentage is specified, however.)

Wait, what? Let me see if I can get this straight.

Maryland is allowing breweries — who use its water, pay its property and income taxes, employ its citizens, pay a mortgage/rent, utilities, sales taxes, sin taxes — to sell beer on premise ONLY IF they use a Maryland grown ingredient in the beer?  If true, that is a horrible, no good, backwards-ass policy. Could it be true?

I looked up the bill and what did I discover? It’s true!

See for yourself on page three. Well, limiting what ingredients a beer can have is a dumb way to limit the choices of Marylanders who want to support local breweries. It’s anti-competitive, too.

Readers, this is what happens under the cult of buy local. It could happen in a state near you. If you don’t speak up about it, it’s going to get worse.

Maryland Senate Bill 579

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