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San Diego brewery among beer makers suing Gov. Newsom over tasting room procedures

Posted at 7:20 AM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 10:29:11-05

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Craft breweries in Orange and San Diego are among beer makers suing Gov. Gavin Newsom, alleging constitutional violations because of a requirement that they serve meals to visitors in order to operate tasting rooms -- a coronavirus-related restriction not imposed on the state's winemakers, according to court papers obtained Friday.

In the suit filed late Thursday in Los Angeles federal court, the California Craft Brewers Association contends that requiring beer manufacturers to serve food as a perquisite to keeping tasting rooms open, but exempting similarly situated wineries, is "arbitrary, irrational and unconstitutional."

San Diego brewery Second Chance and the Orange-based breweries Green Cheek and Chapman Crafted Beer are among local manufacturers to have been "irreparably harmed by the state's actions in response to COVID-19, including most significantly by the sit-down, dine-in meal requirement," the lawsuit maintains.

A Newsom representative could not immediately be reached for comment. The suit also names as a defendant Sandra Shewry, who has been serving as the state Department of Public Health's acting director until the newly chosen director can be confirmed by the Senate.

The suit alleges that the public health mandate "was not supported by scientific data, or an explanation of how the provision of meals achieves the goal of slowing the spread of the virus," according to the CCBA, which represents the state's over 1,050 craft breweries.

The brewers' rights group contends that the mandate violates the beer manufacturers' constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.