Microbrewery bills could attract beer business to Montgomery County

Rock Bottom Bethesda, Flickr photo by cizauskasLawmakers hope a pair of changes related to operating microbreweries in Montgomery County could attract more of the burgeoning craft beer business to the area.

One bill will remove a requirement that Montgomery County microbreweries also be fully licensed restaurants before being allowed to sell its beer for drinking at the location. The other fixes a loophole in a bill enacted last year and will allow breweries to distribute their own beer to licensed recipients throughout the county.

Both bills were sponsored by Del. Sam Arora, who said Montgomery County had been missing out on the exploding business of craft brewing.

“After the legislation we passed today, I am looking forward to the next success stories to come from Montgomery County,” Arora said in a press release.

The only microbrewery in Bethesda is at Rock Bottom (7900 Norfolk Ave.).

Montgomery County is the only jurisdiction in the state in which a microbrewery or craft brewery must be a licensed restaurant in order to qualify for a microbrewery license. The microbrewery bills are two of a number of bills in the General Assembly meant to loosen the county’s liquor laws.

Spurred by the county’s Nighttime Economy Task Force, state legislators passed a law to extend by one hour the permitted hours for serving alcohol in restaurants and modify how much food must be sold at bars. The House of Delegates also passed a law that would allow residents of D.C. and Virginia to hold liquor licenses in Montgomery County.

Flickr photo by cizauskas

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