Second Chance in North Park and Carmel Mountain is among breweries named in a complaint challenging pandemic restrictions placed on tasting rooms. Photo credit: @2ndChanceBeerCo, via Twitter

Craft breweries in San Diego and Orange counties are among beer makers suing Gov. Gavin Newsom, alleging constitutional violations because of a requirement that they serve meals to visitors in order to operate tasting rooms.

That is a coronavirus-related restriction not imposed on the state’s winemakers, plaintiffs argued in court papers obtained Friday.

In the suit filed late Thursday in Los Angeles federal court, the California Craft Brewers Association contends that requiring beer manufacturers to serve food to keep tasting rooms open, but exempting similarly situated wineries, is “arbitrary, irrational and unconstitutional.”

Green Cheek and Chapman Crafted Beer – both based in Orange – and North Park and Carmel Mountain brewery Second Chance are among local manufacturers to have been “irreparably harmed by the state’s actions in response to COVID-19, including most significantly by the sit-down, dine-in meal requirement,” the lawsuit maintains.

A Newsom representative could not be reached for comment. The suit also names as a defendant Sandra Shewry, who has been serving as the state Department of Public Health’s acting director until the newly chosen director can be confirmed by the Senate.

The suit alleges that the public health mandate “was not supported by scientific data, or an explanation of how the provision of meals achieves the goal of slowing the spread of the virus,” according to the CCBA.

The association represents 1,050 California craft breweries.

The group contends that the restriction violates the beer makers’ constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.

The suit comes amid other challenges filed by businesses, including those involving restaurants and strip clubs, over public health orders.

– City News Service