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Harford moving to permit on-farm brewing enterprises

Legislation was introduced in Harford County this week to permit on-farm brewing enterprises. Above, hops grown on a northern Baltimore County farm.
Legislation was introduced in Harford County this week to permit on-farm brewing enterprises. Above, hops grown on a northern Baltimore County farm. (Lloyd Fox, The Baltimore Sun / Baltimore Sun)

Legislation was introduced in Harford County Tuesday night to permit on-farm brewing of beer, ale, stout and similar grain based beverages.

Bill 15-39, sponsored by the administration of County Executive Barry Glassman, will have a hearing before the County Council on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m., in the council chamber in Bel Air.

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County Director of Administration Billy Boniface said county the legislation mirrors recently-approved state legislation and is similar to that permitting a "farm winery," as it would allow limited brewing enterprises to be located on farms.

It would allow for an "agricultural processing and manufacturing facility located on a parcel with equipment, components and supplies used for the processing, production and packaging of malt-based liquors," according to the bill.

The legislation also stipulates that grain, produce or fruit used as the primary ingredient in the brewing process would have to grown on the premises.

The enterprise must include product tasting and may include product sales and site tours. Operators would have to meet all applicable alcoholic beverage sales regulations.

The legislation also stipulates that adequate parking be provided, hours operation be limited to between 10 a.m, and 10 p.m. and any structure used for tastings, sales or events will be limited in size to a maximum of 2,500 square feet.

On-farm brewing has been gaining popularity in Maryland, just as micro-brewery pubs have become ubiquitous around the state.

Owner and brewmaster Phillip Rhudy talks about the Independent Brewing Co.'s first weekend of operation. (David Anderson and Dan Griffin, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

In Harford County, DuClaw Brewing, which opened its first miro-brewery in the Bel Air South area in 1996 and is one of Maryland's pioneer micro-brewers, has been joined locally by Independent Brewing Company, which opened last month on North Main Street in Bel Air. Ocean City Brewing Company is in the process of opening a family restaurant and tap-house in Abingdon's Boulevard at Box Hill.

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