• Big Rick Stuart

Brewers sue Gov. Newsom over pandemic rules requiring food with beer

Brewers sue Gov. Newsom over pandemic rules requiring food with beer

The trade group representing California craft breweries has sued Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s public health officer alleging public health rules the state enacted in July requiring brewery customers to buy a meal before they could consume beer on their premises was discriminatory.

California Craft Brewers Association filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles, claiming the food requirement imposed on breweries, but not wineries, violated the equal protection clause under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The issue emerged this summer when the California Department of Public Health’s coronavirus pandemic guidelines had required brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs and craft distilleries to provide meals with on-site alcohol service.

However, wineries were granted an exception. Napa Valley vintners had protested against the meal requirement because their county’s 1990 winery definition ordinance prohibited wineries from offering meals.

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