A few weeks ago, on a frigid afternoon, I made my way to Diamondback Brewing Co., nestled “at the base at the smokestack” in McHenry Row in Baltimore, my tiny recorder in-hand.

Instead of my usual guest, the owners of Diamondback were graciously opening their doors a little early so I could interview Alec Ross, Democratic candidate for Maryland governor, who had invited me to sit down and chat with him.

As I mentioned in my column last week in The Capital — which included a few short excerpts from the interview featured in this episode — Ross’ background includes working for both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Additionally, he wrote New York Times bestseller The Industries of the Future.

He and his wife, Felicity, live in Baltimore. Their three children attend Baltimore City public schools. His platform as a gubernatorial candidate has a strong focus on education and innovation, in order to create opportunities in a way that is more equitable and accessible, regardless of race or socio-economic status.

There is, however, another political issue he speaks with fire about — the legislative dogfight over the growth of Maryland craft breweries.

Alec & Felicity at Burley Oak (Berlin, Maryland)

This was at the heart of our conversation at Diamondback that day. Enjoy.

Okay, Here’s the Episode

“A lot of the hemming and hawing that comes from wholesalers or larger retailers comes from a position of economic strength, and they just don’t want to reduce that level of economic strength.”

“When it’s easier to sell Goose Island than it is to sell Attaboy, to me, that’s a big problem.”

“As to the concerns of larger retailers and wholesalers, I would say, ‘Hold up. So, you’re saying we need to curtail one kind of business, because you, with your sort of incumbent business models, are threatened by it? Why should everybody have to adapt around you? Why can’t you adapt?'”

“Opening up a craft brewery is not like opening up a ‘red light district.’ If anything, they make our communities stronger.”

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