Franchot visits brewery
STEVENSVILLE — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot stopped by the new Cult Classic Brewery and Taproom in Stevensville on Friday afternoon, Aug. 17. The brewery is located in Kent Island Shopping Center inside the building that once housed the Acme supermarket; the building has been transformed into a brewery of craft beers where people can come in between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily to try some new and classic beer tastes.
The craft beer industry has been growing across the nation over the past several years. Franchot said he wants to encourage craft beer entrepreneurs to found their businesses in Maryland and for it to become the No. 1 place for craft beer breweries.
Franchot used the microphone inside the taproom/bar to praise the McNew brothers, Brooks and Jesse, for using the free enterprise system, “capitalism” he called it, to generate another thriving business in Mar yland.
After tasting one of the beers, Franchot said, “This beer was made from an old German recipe, and it tastes better than the beer I had in Germany!”
Franchot asked everyone present to raise their glasses as he toasted success to the McNew brothers and the growth of the entire craft beer industr y in Mar yland.
“What a fine brewery they have built!” Franchot added. “I am happy to present to you a proclamation honoring your achievement.”
He then talked in detail about his recommendations to the state legislature to help the craft beer industry flourish in Maryland by changing what he called antiquated laws in next year’s legislative session.
Franchot said, “Maryland’s craft brewers have proven to be a strong and resilient engine of economic growth .... Despite statutory and regulatory impediments that have made it harder for this industry to do business in this state. Let me assure you, we are not done fighting to liberate our Maryland craft brewers from laws and regulations that impede their growth and limitless potential. We’re talking about an industry that has a total economic impact of $637 million annually ... that supports more than 6,500 jobs. That generates $228 million in wages and $53 million in state and local revenue.
“Virginia and neighboring states have lured some with friendlier, more responsive legislation,” he continued. “But the good news is that we, as a state, have the
opportunity to change our course .... We must get rid of limits on what brewers can produce, distribute and sell ... and remove restrictions on contract brewers .... We need to let local governments determine hours of operation.”
These are just a few of Franchot’s recommendations. He said, “These modifications will take us from last in the region to first in the nation in terms of laws and regulations that support the craft beer industry ... truly a win-win for brewers,
distributors, retailers and consumers.”
Concluding, he said, “I hope you stand with me, our fantastic craft brewers, and Maryland craft beer lovers to lobby the legislature to enact these vitally important changes.”
County Commissioner Mark Anderson added, “We have bus loads of people who come to our county eating at many of our wonderful seafood restaurants, and then trying these craft beers and distillery products. They’re riding on buses, mind you, not driving their cars! We’re not encouraging drinking and driving. But their bringing their money here and supporting local
breweries like this one in Queen Anne’s County.”
This includes distilleries such as Black Water Distillery that makes a variety of rums and vodkas at their Stevensville location, and the county commission passed local legislation even encouraging local farms to have distilleries that are legal and must meet proper laws of operation.
The Cult Classic Brewery does not serve food, other than a large variety movietype boxed candies and popcorn.
Jesse McNew said, “We will soon have a food truck parked out side with other food offerings in the next week or two.”
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, left, proposes a toast to the success of the Cult Classic Brewery and Taproom in Stevensville Friday afternoon, Aug. 17. Beside him is Queen Anne’s County Liquor Board member and former County Commissioner John McQueeney. Franchot detailed his efforts to make Maryland “the leader” in the craft beer industry in the U.S.
From left, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot stands with brothers Brooks and Jesse McNew after presenting them a Certificate of Recognition Friday afternoon, Aug. 17, at the new Cult Classic Brewery and Taproom in Stevensville. Franchot praised the brothers for the entrepreneurship in the growing craft beer industry.