State regulators have placed a restriction on Central Coast Brewing in San Luis Obispo that forbids the business from serving beer in glasses larger than four ounces.
The Monterey Street business said it was told it was in violation of that order on Oct. 14. It has since stopped serving pints — for now.
Central Coast Brewing is operating under its original license, which was approved by the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in 1998. It states that the brewery is not allowed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises and is permitted to serve beer only in small taster glasses.
In September 2008, Central Coast Brewing applied for a new license that would remove the serving size restriction and allow it to offer patrons pints of beer inside the brewery and outside in a patio area.
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San Luis Obispo police Capt. Chris Staley said state regulators denied that license application based on a recommendation from the Police Department.
“It was a noise issue. Several neighbors complained. Central Coast Brewing was built as a place to brew beer,” Staley said. “Currently they are allowed to serve samples, but not pints.”
State regulators send alcohol license applications to be reviewed by local law enforcement officials. After local authorities recommend an application be approved or denied, or request that restrictions be put in place before approval, the request goes back for a final decision at the state level.
Police said Central Coast Brewing never received final approval from state regulators to serve beers in anything larger than a four-ounce taster glass.
“It was a communication error on all levels,” said George X. Peterson, Central Coast Brewing proprietor, referring to the aftermath of his 2008 license application.
Peterson explained that when he followed up several months later, a Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control employee told him that everything was “good to go.”
Peterson said he waited until January 2009, and when he still hadn’t heard anything from the state, he started selling pints of beer. Two years later, he was told he was in violation of his license.
“It was a gentleman’s agreement. I should have gotten something in writing,” Peterson said.
Central Coast Brewing has since applied for a new license, one that excludes the serving size restriction. The state has received the application and has sent it to the San Luis Obispo Police Department for review.
“We have not cited Central Coast Brewing for any violation,” said John Carr, spokesman for the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, confirming the brewery’s current license restrictions and that the agency is reviewing its new application.
Carr said it’s too soon to know whether the change will be approved, adding, “There are a lot of things that have to be reviewed.”
Staley said that because the police haven’t had any valid complaints about Central Coast Brewing in the past two years, he doesn’t see a reason why its request for a new license would be denied.
He said the department would likely suggest restrictions be placed on hours of operation and would send the request back to the state as early as this week for a final decision.