The California legislature has passed a bill by San Diego Assemblyman (and Mayoral candidate) Nathan Fletcher that would allow beer brewers to have beer tasting rooms without satisfying onerous regulations applicable to restaurants, much of which pertain to food service. The bill passed in the Senate by unanimous vote Thursday, July 13, 2011. It now awaits the Governor’s signature, although there has been no indication of his position on the bill.
Wineries have enjoy the same relaxed regulations since 1985. Under the new rules, such beer tasting rooms would not be required to serve food or comply with many food oriented regulations. With the increasing popularity of micro-breweries and “craft beers,” the beer brewing industry has been pushing for such legislation. Assemblyman Fletcher was approached by San Diego brewer Mike Hess, owner of Hess Brewing Co., with the idea of sponsoring the legislation.
UPDATE: Gov. Brown signed the Bill into law on August 1, 2011.