Beer drinkers are different from wine drinkers. They even listen to different music, one man argued Monday in opposing a state measure that would allow Annapolis' annual wine festival to include beer.
His remarks before the City Council prompted snickers from beer drinkers and micro-brewery owners in the crowd.
Worried that the event would turn into a giant frat party on the banks of College Creek, Alderman John Hammond, R-Ward 1, introduced aresolution calling for the House bill to be withdrawn. But he was the only council member supporting the proposal in a voice vote late Monday night.
Several residents and the president of the Ward One Civic Association testified in favor of the resolution, saying the cityshould not hold a "beer bash" at St. John's College.
Other residents and business leaders argued that including out-of-state beers andwines is critical to keep the popular summer festival going.
LastJune, half of Maryland's 11 wineries withdrew from the festival, citing problems with its organization and promotion. Festival founder Joseph J. Hardesty, owner of Middleton Tavern, saved the event by enlisting the support of Mills Wine and Spirits on City Dock and diversifying the wine selection.
The city has the authority to grant the two-day liquor license needed for the festival.
A lobbyist for the Association of Maryland Wineries supported Hammond's resolution. He explained that the wineries declined to participate last year because the festival saw poor attendance its first three years.
"The wine festival was a special privilege for Maryland wineries," said lobbyistSteven M. Lebowitz.
But Hardesty and Paul Callens, who organized the festival to showcase Maryland wines, argued that micro-breweries should be allowed to sell ale, saying diversification would not transform the event into a "beer bash."
Ted Garrish, who founded Wild Goose brewery in Easton in 1989, said the festival helps turn around preconceptions about beer.
Hammond said he did not oppose micro-breweries, but would like to restrict the event to Maryland wineries andbreweries. Several council members expressed support for such a restriction.
In other business Monday night, the council endorsed reopening Reynolds Tavern, a historic inn on Church Circle. The council also approved an Amoco gas station on Forest Drive after restricting its convenience store hours to 6 a.m. to midnight.