Drink Up, California! Beer Tasting Rules Eased

Gallery beer samples on bar

Call it a coincidence if you like. On the same day the House passed the debt ceiling deal, there is new cause for celebration -- and drinking -- in California.

Small craft beer brewers won exemption Monday from expensive food safety rules that have to be followed by restaurants. It's the same exemption now enjoyed by winery tasting rooms.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB1014, which gives breweries the ability to set up their own tasting rooms, according to an analysis, "where samples can be tasted, enjoyed and promoted."

It seems that even in often-gridlocked Sacramento, bipartisan agreement can be found as long as a cold one is involved.

The bill, by San Diego Assembly Member Nathan Fletcher, passed the Assembly in May with no opposition. It sailed through the Senate, also with no opposition, in July.

Torrance-based Monkish Brewing Company pitched the idea as a way to promote the beer manufacturing industry in California.

Republican lawmakers have been campaigning for regulatory relief for California businesses. Gov. Brown's signature is a friendly tip of the glass in that direction.

And Nathan Fletcher, who's running for mayor of San Diego? His beer-friendly bill could be a nice campaign boost among voters thirsty for change.

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