Chesbro: Free the craft beer!; Chesbro craft beer legislation on governor’s desk


North Coast assembly member Wesley Chesbro just wants to make it easier for you to drink local craft beers.

A bill authored by Chesbro - Assembly Bill 647 - is currently awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature and would change state labeling guidelines to allow craft beer aficionados to fill their growlers - glass containers that hold about four pints of beer - at any local brewery.

"Consumers would like to reuse their containers, not just at the original brewery but to sample beers from many breweries," Chesbro said in a press release. "Growlers have become an increasingly popular way for customers to buy beer from local craft breweries. This change in the law makes sense for consumer freedom of choice and the growth of the microbrew industry. I urge Gov. Brown to sign A.B. 647."

Specifically, the bill clarifies labeling requirements to allow more freedom in the reuse of growlers, which currently can only be refilled at the brewery from which they were originally purchased. The new guidelines would require a brewery refilling a growler to place a label with the names of the brewery and the beer covering all information related to the other beer that was previously in the growler.

The bill has the full support of the California Craft Brewers Association.

"This bill to address labeling laws is good for both the craft brewing industry and consumers alike," said the association’s executive director, Tom McCormick. "The use of growlers to purchase craft beer from local breweries has become very popular in California."

State senator Steve Knight, R-Antelope Valley, co-authored Chesbro’s bill and presented it in the senate.

"More than half of Americans now live within 10 miles of a craft brewer, and many of these local entrepreneurs want to make it easier for customers to cost-effectively bring home their beer using a growler," Knight said in the release. "Growlers are a wonderful, economical alternative that allows beer enthusiasts to enjoy their beer without wasting containers that only have a one-time use."

Brown has 12 days to take action on the legislation.