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Breaking Down The Difference Between San Diego's Bars And Breweries

When a new microbrewery opens it’ll often have a tasting room where the public can stop in and try the beer that’s being made there. Under California law, these tasting rooms and breweries are regulated differently than a typical bar.

Breaking Down The Difference Between San Diego’s Bars And Breweries
With all the new breweries opening in San Diego, there are more and more tasting rooms popping up. But what’s the difference between a tasting room and a bar?

Russ Gibbon is with the San Diego Economic Development Office and often works with local breweries. He said regular bar licenses are more difficult to get. But once a bar has one, it isn't likely to face as many operating restrictions from local police. Tasting rooms and microbreweries fall under a different license, which is easier to obtain but will likely bring more restrictions from police.

“Those agreements for those operating conditions may limit hours of operation, both inside and any kind of outdoor area,” Gibbon said. “They almost always restrict no gaming, no entertainment, no live entertainment.”


Gibbon said microbreweries in the city are complying with the restrictions placed on them.

There are 12 microbreweries in the city of San Diego, with two more expected to open by the end of the year.

Last August Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher authored legislation that exempted beer tasting rooms from the strict regulations created for restaurants and food production facilites. The law, which Governor Jerry Brown signed, instead puts beer tasting rooms on par with wine tasting rooms.

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