Paul Hughes from the Orange County Business Journal featured OC craft distilleries in this month’s edition, and did an excellent job at doing his research and nailing all of the ins and outs of starting and running a craft distillery in California.
He touched on the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, which is really important because after it was repealed the federal government allowed each state to decide what their alcohol laws were going to be. Most states are still regulating alcohol sales & consumption based on the laws that were written after the repeal of Prohibition (talk about archaic!). The most recent changes to California liquor laws in 2015, signed by former Gov. Jerry Brown, made California one of the most progressive States in what the laws now allow Craft Distilleries to do. As a Craft Distillery, we are able to serve 1.5oz per person per day in the form of a flight or a cocktail, and sell up to 3 bottles (or 2.25 liters) per person per day. Prior to the Craft Distillery license (a.k.a. Type 74 permit), the only distilling license available was strictly for manufacturing and distillers were not allowed to have a tasting room or sell directly to the public.
Looking forward, the federal Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) is proposing to amend 27 CFR Part 19 to increase the alcohol content tolerance for distilled spirits to 0.3 percent. Currently, we are held to a standard that is 0.15 percent tolerance and the TTB believes that this proposal will allow greater flexibility and business efficiencies for bottlers (we agree!).