Local Shop Pushes For Beer Growler Legislation


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It might not be the greatest example of representative democracy you'll hear about today, but it's noteworthy nonetheless. A longtime Bethesda beer and wine store recently asked Montgomery County for a license to sell beer growlers (the refillable glass jars larger than a typical beer bottle, some with a specially fastened cap) that have become increasingly popular with the explosion of craft beers. The problem was Montgomery County didn't license anybody to sell them. In fact, less than 10 stores in the state could sell growlers before legislation was adopted in Baltimore and Howard County. So the husband and wife ownership team at Bradley Food and Beverage (6904 Arlington Rd.) went to State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Dist. 16). An official in the county's Department of Liquor Control wrote legislation that would allow Montgomery County beer and wine sellers to stock growlers and Frosh agreed to sponsor it in January's State Special Assembly. The Montgomery County Council discussed it today as part of its 2013 State Legislative Session priorities. "I don't think anybody had even really challenged it in Montgomery County in recent history," said Charleen Merkel, who owns Bradley Food and Beverage with her husband. The shop has been on Arlington Road for 40 years and is well known for its beer and wine but also its deli and bakery. "I'm so excited because craft beer is just so in and there are so many cool beers that are not even released in bottles," said Merkel, who will likely head to Annapolis in January to plead her case for the measure. She said Frosh doesn't forsee any particular snags with the bill. Under the legislation, the license would regulate size of the growlers between 32 ounces and 128 ounces. That's more than enough progress for Merkel, who said she was happy to see a small bit of democracy in action. Flickr photo by Jinx!

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