CA ABC Issues Industry Advisory Regarding Brewery Sales of Others’ Beer

A California brewery (type 1 or 23 license) has wide latitude in sales of its own beer. It can sell the beer on premises, to wholesalers for distribution, and it can self-distribute to other licensees without limit. 

However, in a recently posted industry advisory, the ABC clarified that breweries are expressly prohibited from selling beer that is not “produced and bottled by, or produced and packaged for” them. 

There are exceptions to this seemingly clear-cut rule:

  • Brewers may obtain an off-sale retail beer and license.
  • Brewers may also obtain a beer and wine wholesaler license.
  • Brewers who also have restaurants on or next to the brewing premises can sell others’ beer and wine.

In a recent paper I wrote for a law school seminar class, I argued that small brewers’ who have no interest in operating restaurants should nonetheless have the opportunity that their restaurant-running brethren have to offer guest taps of fellow local brewers to increase consumers’ overall knowledge of the beer styles and choices available to them in the geographic area, to to facilitate their ability to interact and collaborate with one another as that is a valued element of the industry.