Who protests applications for alcoholic beverage licenses?

Applications for alcoholic beverage manufacturing or sale local permits and state licenses generally require public notice, which in turn, often results in the application being protested.  All types of licenses can generate protests.  I’ve had protests on convenience stores, restaurants, pubs, breweries, and hotels, to name a sampling.  the following are some of the types of protestants I typically encounter:  Continue reading

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Tasty food at brewery tasting rooms


Food at Craft Breweries

BBQ @ Mission Brewery

Brewery tasting rooms without kitchens have given rise to symbiotic relationships with nearby restaurants and other types of food vendors. This mobile BBQ vendor next to Mission Brewery in downtown San Diego served up some mighty fine BBQ.  Continue reading

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Duplicate Licenses for Breweries

Nederlands: Hook Norton Brewery barrel, by Jasper K via Wikimedia Commons

Nederlands: Hook Norton Brewery barrel,
by Jasper K via Wikimedia Commons

Prior to Sept. 29, 2014, California breweries had the ability to open “branch” locations on an expedited basis.  These branch locations could sell the brewery’s beer to the public but could not make beer.  A brewery with a type 1 (large) or type 23 (small) could open an unlimited number of such branch locations by obtaining, essentially, an over-the-counter permit referred to as a “duplicate license.”  In the language of the code, the licenses were to issued “forthwith,” i.e., expedited.  In contrast, other ABC licenses typically involve lengthy investigations by the ABC and several months to obtain.   Continue reading

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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). Continue reading

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Found the perfect place for your business? How to check if zoning, ABC, or neighbors will mess you up!

Location, zoning, census tractMany people wanting to open a new business think they have found a perfect location only to find out that their proposed use is prohibited or subject to a difficult permitting process.  While that may seem conceptually obvious to most people, the existing uses in an area can be misleading to prospective new businesses.  Just because an area is full of commercial ventures doesn’t mean that the proposed business will be allowed.  Even if the area contains many of the same type of businesses, the new business may be prohibited or nearly impossible to open.  How can this be? Continue reading

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Does your jurisdiction have a Trader Joe’s exemption?

Trader Joe's coming soon bannerTrade Joe’s is so popular that laws are drafted to accommodate them while keeping out competitors, and communities swoon to receive them while staunchly opposing other businesses selling the same types of goods.  Continue reading

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Same but Different: The two laws even city planning staff confuse.


In a recent process, I represented a client in a matter in which the issue was whether the client’s use was grandfathered under the old municipal zoning code or whether more recent amendments applied to it.  Interestingly, municipal staff raised the granting of another alcoholic beverage license in the same census tract as a reason for why my client’s use might not qualify for grandfathering under the zoning.
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