Hillcrest Farmers Market Pours Craft Beer Samples Following Newly-Passed Bill

On March 13, the Hillcrest Farmers Market in Uptown San Diego became the first in the county to serve craft beer samples to patrons following the passing of California’s AB 774 bill

With some sips on Sunday, the Hillcrest Farmers Market in San Diego became the first of its kind the county to tap into a newly-passed bill that allows craft beer samples to be served at farmers markets.

The Hillcrest Farmers Market sets up shop every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Uptown community at the Hillcrest DMV parking lot at 3960 Normal St., near University Avenue.

The set-up on March 13 was slightly different, however, as the open-air market became the first San Diego-based farmers market site to launch craft beer sampling since the passing of California’s AB 774 bill.

The bill allows craft beer samples and sales at farmers markets across the state. In order to serve sudsy samples, the bill says a licensed beer manufacturer must apply for a certified farmers’ market sales permit via the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Under specified conditions, the permit allows the licensee to sell beer or wine at a certified farmers’ market. The fee for the permit is $50. With a valid permit in hand, AB 774 says manufacturers can partake in an “instructional tasting event on the subject of beer” and serve samples at the markets.

AB 774 was approved by California’s governor last summer and went into effect on Jan. 1. The Hillcrest Farmers Market is currently the first and only market approved under the bill to serve samples San Diego.

Thus, the first round of craft beer sips was available at the market on March 13. From this point forward, the Hillcrest Farmers Market plans to feature a rotating schedule of craft beer establishments pouring samples every Sunday.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilmember Todd Gloria visited the Hillcrest Farmers Market in support of those first sudsy samples, which pave the way for other local farmers markets to follow suit as San Diego’s booming craft beer industry continues its steady growth.

The city leaders were joined by Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) Board President Tami Daiber and Hillcrest Brewing Company owner Chris Shaw.

Faulconer posted photos on his Twitter page showing him and Gloria toasting with the tasters.

Prior to the passing of this bill, existing law required a certified farmers’ market sales permit issued to a licensed winegrower, but not a licensed beer manufacturer, to allow for tasting events at farmers markets.

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