Quirky laws let microbreweries also sell booze & other anomalies
on 09/05/11 at 10:39 amBooze News
We expect peculiar restrictions in states like Utah or Mississippi, but California has some weird laws, too, many vestiges of Prohibition that ended almost 80 years ago.
Most are nuisances, but a few do benefit some groups. One is the law that allows restaurants with brewpub licenses to sell spirits without getting what’s normally an expensive liquor license.
It helps Downtown Joe’s, Silverado Brewing Company and Calistoga Inn, which have invested considerable time and money in making beer.
It also applies to businesses that buy modern, compact tanks to make beer. These are a relatively recent development. They’re fairly cheap (say $30,000), automated, and the establishment needs only to buy mash and dump it in the tank with yeast to ferment.
A brewpub (or wine and beer) license for a restaurant costs $12,000. Unless you win the liquor lottery, a full spirits license can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars as only a limited number are allowed in each county — by population. You generally have to buy one from another business.