D.C. Council passes ‘pint law’ for breweries

3 Stars Brewery, in Takoma Park, is one of the breweries that can now sell pints. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
A boon to small brewers

wtopstaff | November 15, 2014 12:10 pm

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D.C. breweries are likely to be toasting the D.C. Council after lawmakers on Monday approved a rule change that will allow them to sell pints of beer to customers in their tasting rooms.

Though the District has become an increasingly hospitable place for brewery businesses during the past few years, the so-called “pint law” is one of the last big changes that brewers were arguing for. (They told me as much back in March when I profiled the region’s booming beer business.)

Previously, production breweries such as D.C. Brau, Atlas Brew Works and Three Stars Brewing Co. could only offer free tastes of their beer to customers in their tap rooms. Now, breweries will be able to obtain a separate permit for on-site sales and consumption.

Breweries will be able to sell beer for consumption between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. seven days per week, according to the change, which was approved Monday as part of the fiscal year 2015 budget act.

The owners of Three Stars told me back in March that the pint law was the big push they were making with the council this year. With people coming to the brewery to get growlers — large-format bottles of beer — and tastes, the fact that they couldn’t sit in the brewery and buy a beer was confusing to many patrons, they said.

And the change couldn’t have come at a better time for D.C. Brau, which recently reopened its tap room July 12 after closing it during the brewery’s expansion.

D.C. is catching up to local Maryland and Virginia jurisdictions in making the on-premise consumption change; the Virginia General Assembly approved such a change in 2012 and Montgomery County recently implemented a similar change.

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