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San Diego City Council To Consider Allowing Breweries To Open Bigger Restaurants, Tasting Rooms

— The San Diego City Council will discuss an issue this week that’s deeply important to many San Diegans: beer. On Tuesday, the council will decide whether to allow breweries to have larger attached restaurants or tasting rooms.

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Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego has a small tasting room attached to its brewery. City Council action could allow that room to expand.

Right now, San Diego breweries can’t have attached restaurants or tasting rooms that are greater than 3,000 square feet. That’s because breweries must be located in industrial zones, where large restaurants aren't allowed.

A measure before the City Council would change that. It would let large craft beer makers (at least 12,000 square feet in size) add larger full service restaurants or tasting rooms to their beer-making facilities.

City staff say at least two craft brewers are looking to open restaurants or tasting rooms in San Diego’s city limits, but are blocked by current rules.

Those brewers "are reportedly evaluating sites outside the City of San Diego due to the limited number of industrial sites and buildings at feasible prices within the City," according to the council item summary.

Staff did not respond to requests about which brewers are threatening to leave.

In 2011, a bill by then-state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher allowed breweries to open tasting rooms without meeting the health and safety codes for restaurants, as long as those tasting rooms don't serve food.

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