Smaller Maryland breweries fighting for level playing field against Guinness

Small independent brewers in Maryland are seeking the right to expand their beer-making operations in the future as a large Guinness brewery is planned to be built in Baltimore County.

The Guinness brewery will be a huge tourist attraction and will provide dozens of new jobs. While many small beer brewers welcome Guinness, they want a level playing field as well. They are now asking their customers to sign a petition to oppose two state bills they believe will give Guinness unfair advantages -- allowing them to sell much more and to be open longer.

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"There are breweries that have been around for years in this state that have invested," said Julie Verratti, the director of business development and one of the founders of Denizens Brewing Company in Silver Spring. "They have created jobs, they have invested in the economy, they have invested in local community. Here we have Guinness, which is this international company coming in, and they are all of a sudden getting a carveout, a special rule created for them that they can do what they want and it leaves everyone else out. I just don't think that is fair."

While these two state bills are opposed by the independent brewers, there is one bill they do support. House Bill 1420 will allow all breweries across the state the ability to produce and sell much more beer than they currently do.

"I don't think that limits make sense when the only impact of the limit is stopping businesses from growing," said Verratti.