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. But those exceptions come with strings.  Below are the descriptions from ABC’s January 2019 publications – quoted verbatim – by the California Alcoholic Beverage Control of these licenses. (The type 75 description remains the same from 2015). In particular, the description for small breweries (type 23) has been greatly expanded:

Beer Manufacturer – Type 01: (Large Brewery over 60,000 barrels per year) This license is required by makers of beer in this State. An exception under State and Federal law allows a person to produce up to 100 gallons of beer a year for his/her own consumption (maximum of 200 gallons per household). See also Small Beer Manufacturer (Type 23) for brewpubs and micro-breweries. “Beer manufacturer” means any person, except those manufacturing pursuant to Section 23356.2 (home brew), engaged in the manufacture of beer (Section 23012).

Small Beer Manufacturer – Type 23: (Less than 60,000 barrels per year) The privileges and limitations for this type of license are the same as for other beer manufacturers . The only difference is the license fees. (See also Type 1 – Beer Manufacturer.) This license formerly related only to Steam beer. “Steam” beer is made by fermentation at cellar temperature rather than near freezing as is the case with other beers. It is made using only one type of malt–malted barley. It contains no corn, rice or other cereal grains as regular beers normally do. The method of carbonation is entirely natural and involves a process known as Krausening. This process requires taking beer which has been completely fermented and adding to it beer which is still fermenting. This causes a second fermentation to occur. The Krausening process in beer corresponds closely to the “bulk process” in making some types of sparkling wines. The most common users of this license are operators of micro-breweries and brewpubs. These designations are not to be
construed as legal definitions. Their use below is only for descriptive purposes.

“Micro-brewery”: A small-scale brewery operation that generally produces approximately 15,000 barrels a year. Its beer products are primarily intended for local and/or regional consumption. Typically, these operations are solely dedicated to the production of specialty beers, although some do have a restaurant or pub on their manufacturing plant.

“Brewpub”: Typically, a very small brewery with a restaurant where the beer it produces is sold in draft form exclusively at its own premises. This operation often sells other supplier’s bottled beer, including other hand-crafted or micro-brewed beers as well as wine to patrons for consumption on its premises. See “Special Note” below.

Special Note: A brewpub-restaurant (Type 75) license, authorized under Section 23396.3, has a limited brewing privilege and may sometimes be referred to as “brewpub.” However, the Type 75 is an on-sale retail license with significant differences/limitations in license privileges from those of a true “beer manufacturer” (either Type 01 or Type 23).

On-Sale General Brew-Pub – Type 75:  (Restaurant) Authorizes the sale of beer, wine and distilled spirits for consumption on a bona fide eating place plus a limited amount of brewing of beer. This license does not authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption off the premises where sold. Minors are allowed on the premises.

As I have previously written about, Type 01 Breweries are also allowed up to 6 “tasting rooms.”

About William Adams

Attorney at Norton, Moore, & Adams, LLP.
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