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The Old Line State

Way back in 1703, in the Annapolis area of Maryland, the first brewery was established. Along with many other states, people (mostly women) began brewing beers and ciders at home for the safety of their health, since the water was so concerning. In the late 1700s, upon the start of the American Revolution, importing alcohol from England became so expensive American beer was forced to take off.

During the 1800s, a flood of German immigrants came to America bringing the Lager style along with them. Not long after this, beer became increasingly popular all across America with over 4000 by 1873 and over 100 in Maryland alone. Unfortunately, Prohibition ruined this growth and nearly annihilated the brewing industry. With only big name brewers making it through Prohibition and controlling over 90% of the entire industry, craft brewers had to fight even harder to become recognized. Today, the oldest Maryland brewery still in existence is Oliver Brewing in Baltimore, which was opened in 1993.

Every year, Maryland has the Maryland craft beer competition as a way to showcase excellent Maryland craft beers and support the all the hard work the Beer Association of Maryland does for the industry. Another name one might see this competition called is the Comptrollers Cup. The ultimate goal of course is to bring positive exposure to all the magnificent craft brewers and beers of Maryland.

Maryland is known for having several laws that impact the brewing industry but two Maryland brewery laws have recently been updated to benefit the brewers in the state:

1) The first update made was putting the Brewery Modernization Act into place, which increases the amount of beer craft brewers are allowed to produce, sell, and distribute. Prior to this Act, Maryland breweries could only sell 2000 barrels of beer from their taprooms, but the number has now been increased to 5000 barrels of Maryland beer. Though this increase has helped the beer distributors in Maryland, this is still the lowest cap in the United States.

2) The next law put into place was the Beer Franchise Law, which helps brewers get out of unwanted contracts with wholesalers. Before the Beer Franchise Law was put into place, Maryland craft beer brewers would have to provide the wholesaler with a 180 notice and a “good cause” to terminate the contract. This law has shortened the notice period to 45 days and has removed the need to provide a “good cause”. All in all, this provides brewers with more flexibility and freedom of self-distribution of their Maryland beers, which includes the bonus of not having to pay margins to anyone.

Today, there are about 118 recognized Maryland craft breweries. Of these 118, some of the best breweries in Maryland are:

• Burley Oak Brewing Company in Berlin
• DuClaw Brewing in Baltimore
• Bel Air, Hanover
• Bowie; Evolution Craft Brewing in Salsbury
• Heavy Seas Beer/Clipper City Brewing in Baltimore
• Jailbreak Brewing in Laurel
• Realerevival (RaR) Brewing in Cambridge
• Stillwater Artisanal Ales in Baltimore-Gypsy Brewer
• Union Craft Brewing in Baltimore

In our craft beer of the month club, we have had the pleasure of featuring beers from:

Full Tilt Brewing Company
Brewer’s Alley & Monocacy Brewing
Evolution Craft Brewing Company

We love finding and trying new beers to send to you, and cant wait to feature more magnificent Maryland craft beers in upcoming club shipments!