Bay Area breweries, distilleries 'excited' after state announces new rules allowing limited indoor services

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A win for breweries, distilleries, and wineries. Starting March 13, California will be easing restrictions allowing for outdoor services without food and limited indoor services.

On Thursday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) updated public health guidance. Here are the rules:

Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries

Beginning March 13, breweries, wineries and distilleries that do not serve meals may open outdoors only with modifications in the Purple (widespread) and Red (substantial) tiers. The modifications include ensuring that patrons have reservations and patrons observe a 90-minute time limit. Service for on-site consumption must end by 8 p.m. (Previously, and through March 12, breweries and distilleries not serving meals were closed in the Purple and Red tiers).

In the Orange (moderate) Tier, indoor operations may begin with 25 percent of maximum capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. In the Yellow (minimal) tier, indoor operations may increase to 50 percent of maximum capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer.

The updated guidance does not apply to breweries, wineries and distilleries that provide meals. Those establishments should continue to follow the restaurant guidance.

INTERACTIVE: Here's the reopening status of every Bay Area county


Beginning March 13, bars that do not serve meals remain closed in the Purple (widespread) and Red (substantial) tiers. In the Orange (moderate) tier, bars may begin outdoor operations with modifications. In the Yellow (minimal) tier, bars may begin indoor operations with modifications of 25 percent maximum capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Strike Brewing Co. in Campbell has been able to serve these drinks outside, with the help of a food partner like Spicy Roy's Caribbean Grill. While they've loved the arrangement, they're also happy to get back to their regular business.

"It's going to be really handy for us that we're not going to have to depend on the food to serve beer outside like we've been doing," said Drew Ehrlich, Co-Founder of Strike Brewing Co. "We can open a little earlier and maybe we can stay open a little later or after they've had their dinner and they're walking home and I'd like to have a beer."

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At 10th St. Distillery in San Jose, the smell of whisky mixing with signs of hope that they will be next to open.

"We looked at the ruling that's come out and it's an exciting ruling, it's a step in the right direction," said owner Virag Saksena.

Another good sign, San Mateo County is prepping to go orange as early as next week.

"It's not just about us, it's about the whole community, when we launched the whisky we had people who supported us from the bartenders and the businesses in the Bay Area," said Saksena.

Cache Bouren, the owner of San Jose's Haberdasher's Cocktails, wants partners like 10th St. to get back to business too, so they can start working together again.

"Knowing that the restrictions are slowly being lifted is really a light at the end of the tunnel," said Bouren.

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