Beer Police Busting San Diego Tasting Rooms
I just got off the horn with my friend Sage over at Port Brewing/Lost Abbey. We’ve been informed of a sweep of tasting room shutdowns across San Diego County by the San Diego County Health Department. Any breweries that have tasting rooms but no food prep license have been served or will be served with cease and desist order. This includes Port Brewing/Lost Abbey, who have just finished renovating their tasting room to accommodate more visitors.
For those of you not familiar with the San Diego tasting room scene, many San Diego brewers have a small bar with a few taps of their beer in some cases, to their entire lineup. Most of the time, these samples are free, and in the Lost Abbey’s case, would cost a nominal fee that would go towards your take out order (growler fill). When I asked Sage who else this might affect, off the top of his head he said Ballast Point, Alesmith, Alpine, Oceanside Aleworks, Green Flash, and Lightning Brewery. The purpose of these tasting rooms is to introduce new beers to new drinkers and old ones alike. Having this happen to these small brewers is just bad news. According to Sage, renovations to their tasting room could include tile flooring, food grade sinks. Even better, folks who have to get a food prep license are required to go to a food serving class.
Much like the raids on the Pennsylvania beer bars last month, this smells like a personal vendetta coupled with money hungry state government. The county of San Diego will make money while these small brewers will lose money, and have to make up for it with a price increase on beer. So not only do they lose in this situation, but we do too.
Please use the comment section to sound off on this matter.
May 2, 2010 @ 8:11 am
I smell a petition coming on….
May 2, 2010 @ 3:26 am
If a brewery isn’t charging for tasting, why would they need a food prep license? I assume the brewery/tasting room is private property, and they limit the number of guests (plus check age). If they require a food prep license, then why don’t I require one when I have a dinner party at home?
May 1, 2010 @ 2:41 pm
I just visited AleSmith yesterday and they said they were visited, but had no problems whatsoever. So their tasting room continues to be open and is in no danger.
April 30, 2010 @ 7:39 pm
I spent 3.5 hrs in a meeting with 7 commissioners this morning relating to the small boutique winery ordinance, to allow direct sales from the small guy to the consumer, and we have some progress. The wholesalers of USA are adamant in their position, to let the farmer starve to death rather than sell their product directly… We have to make a united stand for a return to freedom in this country.
April 30, 2010 @ 2:26 pm
Tomme, and all SD Brewers, this sucks. Well spoken Tomme as always. To the complainant… lets just call him or her the lil whiney one…or maybe bud rep…. you are not welcome in our tasting room…and rest assured that our tasting room has been under the disorganized ridicule, discombobulated regulation, and unfounded rule making of our local Health authority since opening. Further, I am very thankful that I was required to install a roof in my basement to “keep things from falling into the beer” being filled into growlers 2 stories above the basement… really, I’m not joking. Love you guys, fight the fight, we’ll prevail in the end.
April 30, 2010 @ 1:25 pm
Straight from the director of brewery operations fingers: http://www.lostabbey.com/id-like-to-thank-some-people/
April 30, 2010 @ 1:20 pm
I am just stunned. This has to be a joke. Why didn’t these tasting rooms have food prep licenses? How will this affect the tours of the breweries?