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Free Beer Coming Soon At Farmers Markets

Free Beer Coming Soon At Farmers Markets
Starting next year, free samples of beer may be available at your local farmers market.

Farmers markets may soon offer free samples of beer, thanks to a bill (AB 774) signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Craft breweries can already sell their products at certified farmers markets. The new law will allow them to also offer free "instructional tastings."

That's good news for an industry that's already one of San Diego's fastest growing.

But Erica Leary, program manager with the North Coastal Prevention Coalition, said not so fast.

“I think as policymakers, those concerned with underage drinking, we need to make sure the scales don’t tip too far in favor of the business interests at the sake of public safety," Leary said.

Supporters say the law has numerous safeguards. Only one brewer will be permitted per market. The tasting area will be cordoned off and restricted to adults. Free samples are limited to eight ounces per person per day.

According to a report from National University, San Diego’s craft beer industry generated nearly $300 million in 2011.