California Gov. Jerry Brown's office signed a bill legalizing beer tasting at farmers markets.
The new California law fits neatly into the intersection of the emergence of craft beer as the fastest growing segment of the $101.5 billion American market — the craft beer share is $19.6 billion — and the need for states to raise money.
A craft brewery, as defined by the Brewers Association “A Passionate Voice for Craft Brewers,” produces no more than 6 million barrels annually, and in 2012, the state generated $450 million from taxes on the craft beer industry.
The legislation that Brown signed will allow vendors to offer samples. Tastings would be limited to 8 ounces of beer per adult, and only one brewery per day could pour tastings in a cordoned-off area.
“The bill will also allow non-profits to receive beer donations from breweries to assist them in their fundraising activities, including auctions and raffles,” said Tom McCormick, executive director of the t California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) in a statement.
Craft brew sales are already permitted at farmers markets under legislation Brown signed last year but there won’t be any tastings until the new law goes into effect in 2016.
California has 554 craft breweries, more than any other state, producing approximately 3.5 million barrels of beer in 2014, according to the CCBA, which is tracking 240 breweries now in the planning stages.
In 2013, Brown signed a bill allowing refills of 64-ounce glass jugs called “growlers.” Last year, he signed a bill allowing winegrowers who bottle their own wine to conduct instructional tastings at California’s numerous farmers markets. It was an expansion of a law that allowed estate-grown wine sales at farmers markets.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press