A Montgomery County legislator says he will introduce a law that would remove a hurdle to those who want to open a craft brewery in the county.

Delegate Sam Arora (D-Rockville) on Friday introduced a bill that would remove the restaurant requirement from the licensing process for opening a microbrewery.

Montgomery County is the only jurisdiction in the state in which a microbrewery or craft brewery must be a licensed restaurant in order to qualify for a microbrewery license.

Arora said the explosion in popularity of craft beers means the county is missing out on opportunities to attract new businesses.

“Forcing businesses to open restaurants on top of meeting their normal alcohol license requirements has discouraged them from coming to Montgomery and limited entertainment options,” Arora wrote on his website.  “There is an explosion of successful craft beers emerging around the country right now. We can help the next success story come from Montgomery County.”

The conversation mirrors those about alcohol regulations going on in the county’s Nighttime Economy Task Force, which meets on Monday in Germantown. Some members of the Task Force have talked about changing county liquor laws, though the Department of Liquor Control’s chief of regulation has said some laws (in particular, the 50-50 ratio of alcohol to food requirement) aren’t the reason for Montgomery County’s lagging nightlife scene.

The only microbrewery in Bethesda is at Rock Bottom (7900 Norfolk Ave.).

The Department of Liquor Control helped Bradley Food and Beverage (6904 Arlington Rd.) install craft beer taps by writing up a beer growler law that State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Chevy Chase) introduced and got passed last year.

Arora’s bill will go before Montgomery County’s Annapolis delegation on Dec. 2 in Rockville. State legislators will then vote on the bill in early 2014 once the legislative session starts.

Flickr photo by cizauskas