Sacramento shoud support craft beer, not anti-brew single-serve ordinances

In downtown or Midtown Sacramento, you can buy a bottle of wine or liter of vodka to take home for personal consumption, but it’s illegal to buy a single bottle of beer to go. That’s because the unique-to-Sacramento single-serve ordinance, passed in the mid-1990s in the hope of controlling street drinking and vagrancy, is still on the books. It’s an impractical law that defies common sense, and we’re surprised the Sacramento County Supervisors are considering a similar ordinance for the parts of the county.

It just doesn’t make sense, from a public-safety perspective, to prohibit the purchase of single bottles of beer while allowing sales of similar quantities of higher alcohol-by-volume beverages such as wine and spirits. Besides, there are other laws on the books that offer more effective means of dealing with public intoxication, loitering and other problems the single-serve law seeks to address.

Additionally, extending the single-serve law to the county could slow the development of a booming local industry: the craft beer business. The Sacramento region is home to dozens of new breweries, most of which do not sell six-packs, but offer their high-quality brews in 22-ounce or 750-milliliter bottles. The supervisors should be looking for ways to support, not restrict, these dynamic new businesses.