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Are You Taking Advantage of California's New Alcohol Laws?

A long list of new California alcohol laws became effective on January 1, 2023. Some provided new privileges for licensees. Are you taking advantage of these new opportunities?

Beer Manufacturers Benefit from Additional Branch Offices

As of January 1, 2023, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control increased the number of branch offices type 01 and 23 beer manufacturers can obtain from 6 to 8, and further increased the number of those branch offices that can be restaurants from 2 to 4. The one catch is that beer manufacturers must have held 6 branch offices for at least a year before they are eligible for a 7th or 8th license.

In addition, beer manufacturers with wholesale licenses can now self-distribute alcohol to their branch offices (including restaurants and tasting rooms licensed as branch offices). Previously, beer manufacturer branch offices with retail privileges were required to purchase all alcoholic beverages from independent wholesalers.

(See Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 23389, 25503.28; ABC Guidance.)

Licensees Holding Both Beer Manufacturer & Winegrower Licenses Can Now Combine Premises

Licensees who have both a type 01 or 23 beer manufacturer’s license and a type 02 winegrower’s license are now authorized to have overlapping premises where retail sales and consumption privileges for both licenses are combined. Separate cash registers and points of sale are no longer required.

To exercise this privilege, the beer manufacturer and winegrower must have identical ownership. In addition, the combined licenses must both be either master licenses or branch office licenses. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will not license combinations of master and branch offices.

(See Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 25607; ABC Guidance.)

Beer Manufacturers Gained a New Self-Distribution Privilege, But It’s Narrow

Type 01 and 23 beer manufacturers can now self-distribute beer they produce to their own on sale retail establishments (such as restaurants and bars), but only if they are located within 5 miles of the beer manufacturer’s place of production. The on sale retail businesses owned by beer manufacturers are still required to purchase all other alcohol they sell from licensed wholesalers or winegrowers.

(See Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 25503.28; ABC Guidance.)

Nonprofit Radio Broadcasters & Cultural Film Exhibition Companies Are Now Eligible for Type 64 Licenses

California broadened eligibility for type 64 retail alcohol licenses. In addition to nonprofit theaters, nonprofit radio broadcasting and cultural film exhibition companies can now obtain type 64 licenses.

Type 64 licenses authorize sales of alcoholic beverages to ticketholders only two hours before, during, and one hour after radio broadcasts and film exhibitions.

The new law defines nonprofit cultural film exhibition companies as companies that predominantly exhibit classic, foreign, independent, or rare movies for members or the general public, or both, in a theater with a seating capacity of at least 100 seats, at least three days per week.

(See Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 24045.7; ABC Guidance.)

This blog is dedicated to periodic reports of, and comments on, state and national alcoholic beverage regulatory developments. It is intended for informational use only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult with your counsel.

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