BERLIN – Legislation passed in Annapolis this week will enable two different entities and the people they hope to serve to get the most out of liquor laws. The first was an exemption of sorts for the Burley Oak Brewery that allows it to operate more like a pub without serving food.
Under the former law, in order for owner and brewmaster to be able to serve pints and growlers — large bottles of beer to take home — he would have to also serve food in the establishment. Brushmiller appealed to both the town and the county as well as his state representatives to help rectify the situation.
With the endorsement from local government the area’s delegation proposed a law that would establish a limited exemption from the statute within the Berlin town limits.
When testifying bout the benefits of the law, Brushmiller referenced expected economic growth saying that the funds he would have to expend on restaurant equipment and operations could be used to employ more people for greater production.
But more than that, he referenced the fact that he didn’t want to enter into competition with the area’s restaurants.
“The bill allows me to complement the local restaurants without competing with them,” he said. People can take a tour, maybe have a pint and then order one at [a local restaurant] when they go for dinner.”
The other piece of legislation disbands the quasi-independent Worcester County Liquor Control Board and puts liquor sales and distribution in the hands of the county proper. The new county department will be called the Worcester County Department of Liquor Control and be run in a way similar to the enterprise fund departments.
Bud Church, president of the Worcester County Commissioners, said he was grateful the state assented to the county’s request and that he looked forward to getting to work on the transition.
“So far we’ve had limited access to their operations but we expect a smooth transition on July 1,” he said. “Things seem to be going very smoothly.”
Church said the LCB has already been helpful providing current job descriptions and describing the purchasing processes to county workers.
Since the county won’t have control of the LCB in time for their own budget process, Church said they’ll work for the first year with whatever budget is approved for the LCB. After nearly a year of operations Church said next year’s process would be much easier but said he wasn’t worried about the affect on the county budget currently under construction.
“We don’t thing it’s going to have a major impact,” he said.
He also said the county doesn’t expect to dismiss any of the current LCB employees, preserving local jobs.