Breweries and distilleries can open in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties

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Posted at 12:30 AM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 03:30:30-04

Cheers to beer and wine drinkers in California, the restrictions on purchasing alcohol at breweries, distilleries, and wine bars were lifted Sunday. Patrons are now able to enjoy outdoor spaces.

Previously, customers had to purchase drinks to-go, or places were closed because they were not classified as restaurants.

Now, businesses that sell alcohol can allow a limited amount of people to patron, but for 90 minutes and until 8 p.m.

Kurt Hixenbaugh, the owner of Vino et Amicis, said, “I think it’s about time. You know, I think the food requirement we had to have in the past that didn’t make any sense, that wasn’t rooted in any science or anything. It was just, kind of, I think a knee jerk reaction.”

Denise Cotinola, the tasting room manager at Timbre Winery Tasting Room said, “At one point, in order to reopen, we were required to provide food with alcohol purchases and so we partnered with a local catering company in order to provide food with our tastings.” They had the caterer until last summer, and after that, they served a limited number of people outside.

Hixenbaugh was blunt about the effect the pandemic and subsequent restrictions had on his business, “During the shutdown, our business was down eighty percent so we were barely hanging on. And so this is absolutely a step in the right direction and we need to keep going.”

Hamish Marshall, co owner of Rod and Hammer’s SLO Stills said, “Every piece matters, every portion matters. But it’s hard to run a business with one arm tied behind your back.”
Marshall's business was allowed to stay open because they have a connected kitchen with several other sites. Therefore, they were able to operate like a restaurant.

Nonetheless, Marshall said, “I think we’ve all got big smiles on our faces right now having people back in our establishments.”

Unless they operate like restaurants, bars are not allowed to work the same way. They will be able to open outdoors in the orange tier.