New law allows fruity brewing

A new California law signed by Gov. Newsom on July 9, 2019 expands the definition of beer under California, which carries with it certain tax benefits and other advantages. Using fruit in the fermentation process or aging in wine barrels will no longer disqualify a fermented beverage from classified as beer. The law came from Assembly Bill 20 and has become Business and Professions Code sec. 23006. Reporting on the new law can be found at this link.

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Cannabis beverage boundaries in the news

Cannabis products in alcoholic beverages is prohibited under both federal law and California law. That includes even non-narcotic industrial hemp or CBD. However, some businesses are moving forward dealcoholized wine and beer products, replacing the alcohol effect on mood and mind with the cannabis effect. One partnership includes Lagunitas Brewery and a company called Cannacraft. Another product comes from Rebel Coast Winery. for more info, see the article in The Sonoma Index-Tribune.

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Blood alcohol content bill would make California only state to match Utah’s law.

In California, a bill (AB-1723) is pending that would lower the legal driving blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from 0.8% to 0.5%.  Only Utah currently has a blood alcohol law with a limit that low, although similar bills have been introduced in other states this year.  Theoretically, this would limit women under 160 lbs. to one drink per hour and men under 200 lbs. to 2 drinks per hour. Continue reading

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Does “Sober Curious” identify a new drink trend?

Vox recently published an article that was part book review and part trend spotting.  The book is Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol by Ruby Warrington (2018 HarperOne). The book explores an alcohol-free, or greatly reduced, lifestyle for those who are not alcoholics but simply want more control over their lives.  Continue reading

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Distilled spirits maker ABC license types

On the heels of the craft brewing explosion came a smaller craft beverage revolution: Craft distillers.  Suddenly, the California Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) saw applications for license types that rarely see new applications.  For those unfamiliar with alcoholic beverage licenses are divided among three categories and numerous specific “types.” Continue reading

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Updates to ABC brewery license descriptions:

I wrote about the three basic types of brewery licenses in California.  However, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control updates it’s descriptions periodically.  These licenses are known as “non-retail” licenses (except for the type 75).  In other words, they are not restaurants, bars, or stores.  California law prohibits businesses making or selling alcohol from crossing the line dividing manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.  Breweries are manufacturers of beer.  These are called “tied house restrictions.” However, California law does allow some crossing of that line, i.e., hybridization of beer manufacturer and retailer. Continue reading

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Cannabis infused beer?

At least two manufacturers are infusing Cannabis (including THC) into beer.  Combining alcohol and cannabis product – even those without cannabis – is illegal in California.  I wrote about the new law in October last year.  So how are these manufacturers accomplishing the mixture?  Are they operating illegally?  Continue reading

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