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Gov. Newsom Signs Law Redefining Beer

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Small craft brewing companies are praising Governor Newson's approval of a law redefining beer in California.

"It's something small breweries have done for a long time," said Peter Halldorf with Yolo Brewing in West Sac.

Halldorf says companies have been experimenting with ingredients for years.

"It's kind of one of those open secrets," Halldorf said.

He said all have been doing so illegally while authorities turn their heads.

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"If we have a beer making license we can only use certain types of fermentable sugars to make beer and those sugars have to be derived from grain," Halldorf said.

Beer is traditionally made from barley, wheat, rice and corn.

"The definitions of beer are pretty archaic," said Andrew Mohsenzadegan with Flatland Brewing Company.

A new law just signed by Governor Newsom redefining what beer is will change that. Beer can now be produced using honey, fruit, fruit juice, herbs, spices, and other food materials.

Mohsenzadegan says it's about time.

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"Consumers want new beers, want heavily fruited beer and now we can legally do that," Mohsenzadegan said.

The new law will also allow beer to be aged in barrels that once contained wine or distilled spirits and still be classified as beer. That process used to require a wine license.

"It will allow a lot more freedom without fear of running afoul of the law," Halldorf said.

Tapping into a larger market for the ever-growing small craft beer industry.

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