ABC Agents find nearly 50 brew pub restaurants in violation
November 2018 - California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) announced that ABC agents have conducted an investigation of seventy establishments with Type 75 Brew Pub permits and discovered nearly 50 were not in compliance with their licenses.
The statewide investigation was the result of complaints that some locations were not actually operating as brew pubs. California law gives a wide range of privileges to establishments licensed as brew pubs, including the ability to serve distilled spirits like vodka and whiskey, but it also requires that they operate as genuine brew pubs, which requires that they brew beer on the premises and operate a restaurant.
During the investigation, ABC agents discovered nearly 50 establishments were either not brewing beer at all, were not brewing quantities for service consumers expect of a legitimate brew pub, or were otherwise not functioning as a brew pub.
“California’s craft beer industry is a national leader and brew pubs are an important part of that,” said ABC Director Jacob Appelsmith. “This statewide investigation makes it clear that the ABC is committed to protecting the integrity of the craft beer industry and expects licensees to be compliant with the law in order to sustain a fair and healthy marketplace. The department prefers increased compliance through education but will use enforcement tools to ensure compliance.”
“ABC agents cover a lot of territory when you consider the number of establishments in California that have some kind of ABC license,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “They are in brew pubs, restaurants, bars, lounges, liquor and convenience stores, wherever alcohol is sold to ensure compliance with ABC laws. Ultimately much of their work contributes to public safety.”
There are approximately 150 Type 75 Brew Pub licensed premises in California and ABC’s investigation found nearly a third of those locations were not operating legitimately.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law in September allowing Type 75 licensees to sell their products for off-premise consumption. The law also tightened requirements for obtaining the license, requiring license holders to operate at least a 7-barrel brewing system and produce and sell at least 200 barrels annually.
Previously, Type 75 licensees were required to produce at least 100 barrels per year, with no sales requirements. That led some business owners to seek the licenses, which cost about $14,000, instead of obtaining liquor license, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The bill was supported by Artisanal Brewers Collective (ABC), a restaurant and brewpub group started by former Golden Road Brewing co-founder Tony Yanow, and which operates brewpubs in Los Angeles and San Diego.