California Passes Law Enabling Brewers to Sell at Farmers’ Markets

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that legalizes the sale of packaged beer at certified farmers’ markets, a right previously afforded only to winemakers in the state.

The bill, AB 2004, enables craft brewers not only to exhibit and sell products at farmers markets, but also gives brewers the ability to sell beer and wine during private events on their own premises. The new law takes effect on January 1.

The measure, per a statement issued by the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA), allows for licensed beer manufacturers to apply for certified farmers’ market beer sales permits through the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“AB 2004 provides craft brewers parity with the privileges currently enjoyed by the wine industry,” said Tom McCormick, executive director of the CCBA. “As the popularity and number of craft breweries grows, AB 2004 assists brewers in reaching new consumers and allowing them to meet the demand of the growing industry.”

McCormick touched on the issue during Brewbound’s Brew Talks stop in Sacramento earlier this year, adding that the bill had support from California wholesalers who saw it as mutually beneficial.

“[The bill] allows them to outgrow selling at farmers markets,” he said at the time. “And ultimately they’re going to need distributors to service their products and get these products to retail.”

Sacramento’s New Helvetia Brewing is already in the planning stages of applying for the permit, according to the CCBA statement.

“Having the ability to sell our product at local farmers’ markets is a great opportunity to visit with customers and engage with the community,” said owner Dave Gull. “We are a local brewery and rely on the local support to continue to grow our business.”

Regarding the on-premises changes, breweries will no longer need a restaurant in order to serve beer and wine, irrespective of manufacturer, during private events.

The bill made its way through both the Senate and Assembly chambers free of opposition.

It’s the second beer related law the state has passed in just over a month. In September, Gov. Brown signed a bill that aims to deter keg theft in the state.