Free Wine or Beer at Your Barber Shop or Beauty Salon?

Barber shop signCalifornia Assembly Bill 1322 would allow one complimentary 12 oz. beer or 6 oz. wine to be provided customers of beauty salons, barber shops, and similar businesses (e.g., nail salons, day spas, etc).  The bill is authored by Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) and would allow complimentary beer or wine without an alcholic beverage license.  Generally, ABC law requires that alcoholic beverages be sold, not given away. This bill would not only allow the beer or wine to be free, but would require it.  Otherwise, an ABC license would still be required.

The bill has passed in the Assembly and is now before the State Senate.  However, it is receiving attention and opposition from anti-alchohol groups.  The bill would amend California Business & Professions Code sec. 23399.5, which already allows limousine services and hot air balloon rides to provide complimentary alcoholic beverages without the type, quantity, or hours restrictions that would be applicable to barber shops, beauty salons, and similar businesses.

If it passes as currently written, the following restrictions will apply:

1) The beer or wine must be free, i.e., the charges for other services must remain the same regardless of whether the customer accepts the complimentary beer or wine.

2) Quantities are limited to one 12 oz. beer or one 6 oz. wine.

3) The business must have a license in good standing with the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

4) Service of the beer or wine must cease by 10 P.M.

Although no ABC license will be required, the ABC will be responsible for enforcing the law.  If it passes, the bill may become law by the end of October.

However even if it passes, local zoning regulations will still apply, which may require a use permit.  Whether or not a zoning use permit will be required will depend largely on the language of the local zoning ordinances, e.g., whether they refer to alcohol “sales” vs. “service,” or whether they define businesses by type, e.g., bar, restaurant, nightclub, etc.  Most zoning codes will not have been drafted with this use in mind but may unwittingly include it by the choice of terminology.


About William Adams

Attorney at Norton, Moore, & Adams, LLP.
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