Bars, Wineries And Breweries Can Partner With Restaurants, Food Trucks To Stay Open
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Photo by Mike Damron
County health officials clarified Tuesday as long as breweries, wineries and bars are serving food, through their own kitchen or through a partnership with a restaurant or food truck, they can stay open.
That is welcome news for many owners who were concerned about having to close their establishments for a second time during the pandemic.
"There was some confusion over what that decision was and how it will impact us," said Morris "Mo" Nuspel, the co-owner of Deft Brewing in Bay Park.
On Monday, officials announced they would move again to close bars, breweries and wineries that do not have a "food license" after an uptick in COVID-19 cases. That was confusing for many owners.
Deft Brewing partners with Cucina Caprese to serve pizzas, but the brewery itself isn’t licensed to serve food.
"It hasn’t been made clear: do we have to serve the food ourselves or can we partner up with food trucks?" said Kris Anacleto, president of the San Diego Brewers Guild. He also is the general manager at Booze Brothers Brewing in Vista.
Tuesday county health officials clarified that bars, breweries and wineries do not have to be licensed to serve food themselves and can continue to partner with eateries to stay open. Wineries with outdoor tasting spaces can also keep those spaces open.
Anacleto said it is not easy to bring in outside food on a consistent basis.
"It’s really hard to find a food truck for every brewery, every day of the week that they want to be open," he said.
If officials had required food licenses to stay open, many bars, wineries and breweries would have had to revert back to just to-go alcohol sales.
"It was painful for a while when we were doing the to-go only model," said Morris.
The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control estimates there are hundreds of San Diego County businesses that could still be affected by the closure orders.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include the county's directive on wineries with outdoor tasting areas.
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