BREAKING | New Laws Bring Relief to California Breweries
The end of September brought great news out of Sacramento, California, as Governor Newsom signed the final bills of the ’21-’22 congressional session. Among the various bills signed were AB 2301 and 2307, which have removed several hurdles for the ever-expanding brewery industry in California. The first added some nuance to the three-tiered system to allow breweries some self-governance, and the second allowed breweries to continue to expand the communities they serve.
AB 2301 seems simple enough, allowing breweries to self-distribute to restaurants they own within a five-mile radius. While it feels a bit common sense, places like Urban Roots Brewing in Sacramento have been forced to use a distributor in Concord, located nearly 70 miles away, to take their beer to their fried chicken restaurant (BAWK!) located a mere one mile from the Urban Roots brewing facility; the beer journeys nearly 200 miles to end up only one mile away.
AB 2307 raised the cap on the amount of satellite tap rooms that a brewery can have from six to eight and the amount of those tap rooms that can have full kitchens from two to four. It is some welcome news for breweries like Modern Times and Fieldwork, which are well-known for operating satellite locations. In fact, Fieldwork Brewing had just hit its licensing limit with the opening of its latest location in San Leandro. Fieldwork co-founder Barry Braden has always been a fan of the satellite taproom model because “This way we make the beer our customers want and not the beer a distributor wants to sell. It allows us to be more creative and respond to on-site customer demand.”
Both bills are welcome news to the California beer industry, which has more than doubled in the past decade. But especially for those at the California Craft Brewers Association who have been pushing for these types of legislation. “We just want our brewers to feel that the sky’s the limit on what they can achieve,” said Lori Ajax, executive director of the CCBA. “We are grateful that the governor supports these small businesses and signed AB 2301 and AB 2307.”
Cover photo courtesy of the California Craft Brewers Association