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November 15, 2010

Flying Dog Ales to re-start public tours at Frederick brewery

Flying Dog Ales will resume public tours at its Frederick brewery  starting this Winter.

The manufacturer closed the tap room of its brewery a year ago over Maryland liquor laws that prevented them from freely dispensing samples to visitors. 

But Washington City Paper reports CEO Jim Caruso has found a loophole that will allow the company to bring back sampling Saturdays and do tours of the facility.

The news comes after last week's announcement the company has more or less discontinued the 21-year-old brand Wild Goose, which they had owned since 2006. 

Maryland law stipulates a brewery may only serve one sample of up to 6 ounces to anyone of legal drinking age who has taken a tour of its licensed facility.

Flying Dog and other breweries have protested the law in the past. But this Winter, they will bypass the law by simply breaking up their tour into different sections. This will allow visitors to take their 6-ounce samples after each section they complete, rather than after one seamless tour, and to get blotto way faster. 

City Paper doesn't say how many tour sections there will be, and Ben Savage, vice president of marketing, hasn't gotten back to me for comment. Will update when I know that information, the start date of the tours, if there will be a cost, and if the company is already taking reservations.

 Flying Dog Ales has owned the Frederick brewery since 2006. Two years later they closed their Denver brewery and moved all 82 Flying Dog packages to Maryland, leaving little space for Wild Goose or any of the company's other beer commitments.

The public tour news comes via the tireless Beer in Baltimore, who must have his ears to the walls of Jim Caruso's office for all the tidbits he's churning about the company. (Or maybe he just has a Google alert).

Photo: Flying Dog's Frederick brewery, via The Lagerheads' Facebook.  They got a tour last week.

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Posted by Erik Maza at 4:05 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Brewing News


No Google news alert involved here, actually--actually, all the credit really belongs to Tammy Tuck and the "Young & Hungry" bloggers at the Washington City Paper. But I've been talking for months about the issue with the other breweries that offer "samples" via one means or another in the state, and they've been understandably shy about "rocking the boat" until they had a clear mandate from Annapolis--which, I will note, Flying Dog doesn't quite have yet. I;m waiting for these places to install "bouncer" security--don't laugh, it may happen.

Couldn't they just charge something along the lines of a penny for a beer or something ridiculous like any other happy hour at the end of the tour?

Having read the law, it is actually very vague as to whether or not it is one sample, or that samples can be no more than 6 oz. And, while I could be wrong about this, I believe that if they were charging for beer, it would require a very different sort of license. The tours will not resume before the new year (with the exception of during special paid events such as the Halloween Bash). The test drive of the new tour was interesting - definitely more in depth. They mentioned nothing of a cover charge or the need for reservations.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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