AUGUSTA — A bill from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to support Maine restaurants and brewpubs, received a public hearing before the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on Friday. LD 1518 “An Act To Support Maine’s Tasting Rooms and Restaurants during the COVID-19 Pandemic” would cut bureaucratic red tape to support Maine’s growing food and beverage industry.
“Over the past few months, the Maine Legislature has passed several bills to provide some much-needed relief to Maine restaurants and brewpubs. This bill simply continues our work to cut red tape and help small businesses and workers weather the pandemic and rebound from this crisis,” said President Jackson.
The proposal was inspired by President Jackson’s constituents from Caribou and Stockholm. One constituent holds a brewing license as part-owner of Northern Maine Brewing Company in Caribou but wishes to open a bowling alley as well. Unfortunately, the three-tiered system of liquor distribution in Maine does not allow for a manufacturer to have a financial interest in a retail license, except for in narrow circumstances. This bill simply changes the narrow circumstances to allow a licensed in-state liquor manufacturer to have a financial interest in a single retail licensee.
LD 1518 will face additional work sessions in committee.