California Governor Gavin Newsom and the State Legislature passed a proposal to allow all licensed brewers in the state the ability to produce beer, cider, and perry simultaneously on the premises of their existing breweries. Kudos to the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) for helping get this one across the finish line.
“As Californians in every town, city, and neighborhood have embraced craft breweries as a favorite place to gather, relax, and enjoy locally made craft beer, SB 788 will allow these cherished small businesses the flexibility to provide even more options and opportunities to grow,” CCBA Board Chair Laurie Porter said.
The forthcoming law, known as Senate Bill 788, will benefit smaller breweries that produce less than 60,000 barrels of beer annually, known as Type 23 licensees. Until SB 788 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2024, smaller craft breweries that operate under a Type 23 license have been required to obtain a separate winegrower’s license to produce fermented fruit beverages like cider or perry.
Why it matters | Obtaining that winegrower’s license and making the necessary capital investments to modify the brewer’s production facility to essentially include a separate winery has been an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, often taking upwards of six months to a year.
This is especially significant given the growing need for product diversity in the market — especially in California.
“Now that SB 788 is signed, more than 1,000 craft breweries in California will be able to produce cider and perry under their current licenses,” Sen. Ashby said. “This will provide support for small businesses—helping cut through red tape, saving money and time, and letting them produce beverages consumers enjoy.”
SB 788 levels the playing field for small brewers, which have a significant $9.03 billion impact on California’s economy. More than 54,000 workers are employed at California’s 1,100 craft breweries, and 95 percent of Californians live within 10 minutes of a craft brewery.
SB 788 passed the State Assembly on July 3 by a 69-0 vote after clearing the State Senate on April 13 by a 36-0 margin. Governor Newsom signed SB 788 into law on July 21.