Fran­chot visits brew­ery

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Front Page - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

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.”

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

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.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

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.

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