As anyone following our blog can recall, a while back we hit a HUGE snag in opening up Hess Brewing when we tried to get approval from the local health department... AND you may remember the health department realizing they had never regulated a brewery's tasting room in San Diego's long and storied history of brewing. After they realized their mistake they decided to finally "regulate" a number of local breweries; this created a quite the brouhaha.
Thanks to support (and righteous fury) from local breweries and local beer drinkers, the San Diego Department of Environmental Health (DEH) decided to call up the California Department of Health who proceeded to tell them they did NEED to regulate breweries since they were similar to wineries. It was at their discretion. The San Diego DEH backed off and the brewing world in San Diego has been peaceful ever since.
Unfortunately for our brothers and sisters up north, that is, every other county other than San Diego, they still have to conform to some very unnecessary and expensive rules. Check out Enegren Brewing's blog to see what other counties still demand.
Fortunately after our go-round with the DEH we decided to contact our local rep, Nathan Fletcher, and see if he couldn't do something about the great divide between wineries and breweries in terms of Department of Health language.
The bill will be headed to the governor next week, and we want to ensure that he understands how important this bill is to the industry. AB 1014 removes the requirement that brewery tasting rooms comply with the same requirements as restaurants (industrial sinks and plumbing, raised appliances, special paint, etc) when only beer and snacks are served. Wineries received this exemption some time ago, but breweries were not included. The bill exempts beer tasting rooms from those food facility regulations, instead creating a requirement that glasses are cleaned between uses (the bill’s sponsor, the California Small Brewers Association, agreed to take that amendment at the recommendation of Senate Health Committee)
To help support this effort feel free to copy the following quote just fill in the date and your name and mail it to:
State Capitol, Suite 1173,
Sacramento, CA 95814
Governor Edmund G. Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: AB 1014 (Fletcher) – Request for Signature
Dear Governor Brown,
On behalf of California Craft Beer Drinkers, I write to express our strong support for your signature on Assembly Bill 1014, which would greatly improve the regulatory oversight of craft brewery tasting rooms.
I would appreciate this important effort from the legislature to align beer tasting safety regulations with those for wine tasting. Current law requires breweries to expend significant resources to be compliant with regulations written for restaurants and food preparation facilities, regulations that have no relation to the health and safety of customers in a tasting room. Assembly Bill 1014 aligns beer tasting regulations with those for wine tasting, improving customer safety while lowering costs for local breweries.
This bill will greatly help my local breweries and California’s burgeoning microbrewery industry continue to provide great products, jobs, and tourism opportunities across the state. I, as a local consumer, strongly support these legislative efforts and urge a signature for Assembly Bill 1014.