Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill, AB 2004, that will enable licensed beer manufacturers to apply for a permit to sell packaged beer at certified California farmers' markets; the new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2015, stipulates that licensees may not sell more than 5,000 gallons of beer annually via the markets. Currently, wine produced from estate-grown grapes is allowed to be sold at farmers' markets.
Local market manager Catt Fields-White shared, "This is a law made in heaven for the North Park Farmers' Market, where our neighbors love craft beer almost as much as locally grown farm-fresh produce."
"However, there are a number of unanswered questions. As with other alcohol and health department regulations, this is being legislated on the state level but interpreted and enforced with a great deal of discretionary power by the county regulatory agencies. We'll be working with local brewers and the ABC to navigate that path to the marketplace."
Modern Times Beer founder Jacob McKean, whose Point Loma brewery has a tasting room in North Park, said "I think it's a great step in the right direction, and we would absolutely consider doing it. Locally brewed craft beer makes perfect sense at a farmers market, and we hope it provides another opportunity for us to support local growers and makers."
McKean says he's also excited about another part of the measure, which will let a brewery sell beer from other breweries and wine on-site during private events, which will open up more opportunities for brewing facilities as event spaces.