Current Food Service Options for Breweries in San Diego County
Outlined below are current options for food service at breweries in San Diego, based on the statewide regulations in the California Retail Food Code. These regulations were updated in 2010, due to the California Craft Brewers Association work at the state Capitol to carve out a section in the California Retail Food Code for the sale of “prepackaged” products at craft breweries (Article 5, Code 114289-114289.5 in the Health and Safety Code, details in Option 3 below).
- Permitted mobile food facilities (i.e. food trucks or food carts) may operate on the private property of your establishment, or as allowed by local zoning and code ordinances. The mobile unit must display a current DEH permit sticker and a grade card. Vendors operating the units must have access to a commercial restroom during the time period they operate at your brewery. NO HEALTH PERMIT OR HOST FACILITY PERMIT REQUIRED FOR BREWERY.
- If you sell or serve crackers, pretzels or pre-packaged food items that are non-perishable and do not exceed 25 square feet in display you are exempt from the CA Retail Food Code (CRFC). NO HEALTH PERMIT REQUIRED OR HOST FACILITY PERMIT REQUIRED FOR BREWERY.
- If you sell or serve pre-packaged food that is non-perishable and exceeds 25 square feet or sell or serve food that is perishable (for example: pre-packaged sandwiches) your establishment must meet all construction and equipment standards of the CRFC and be approved by DEH plan check. HEALTH PERMIT REQUIRED FOR BREWERY.
- Hosting a Caterer, Direct Sales Caterer at your establishment requires you to meet all construction and equipment standards of the CRFC and be approved by DEH plan check, UNLESS the caterer is preparing food for a private event, per the ABC’s definition of a “private event.” HEALTH PERMIT REQUIRED FOR BREWERY, UNLESS CATERING FOR A PRIVATE EVENT.** Please note, this is the option that the new “Host Facility Permit” replaces, offering a bare minimum plan check requirement for breweries wishing to host a direct sales caterer at their facility.
- Temporary Event Caterers are only allowed to operate outside you brewery at permitted community events in conjunction with a Temporary Event Organizer. A community event is defined as an event that is of civic, political, public, or educational nature as approved by the Department of Environmental Health.
- If you prepare, serve OR sell food at your establishment, you are required to meet all construction and equipment standards of the CRFC and be approved by DEH plan check, identified as a “restaurant” according to the code. There are two tiers for this pre-packaged permit: more than 25sq feet, but no perishable food items (Permit fee: $134 annually) or more than 25sq feet, with perishable food items (Permit fee: $299 annually). Both have the same plan check requirements, including commercial restrooms and hot water, and require plan submission ($545). HEALTH PERMIT REQUIRED FOR BREWERY.
NEW Food Service Option: San Diego County Ordinance
The new ordinance from San Diego County Department of Environmental Health provides enhanced food service options for breweries in San Diego. These options provide a legal alternative for breweries to offer catered food during regular business hours without have to meet the full “restaurant” level requirements of the California Retail Food Code (CRFC). Many breweries in San Diego and across the state have previously hosted caterers and direct sales caterers illegally, without the construction and equipment standards required by the CRFC and approval through the DEH plan check.
The following options are not required but offer a bare-minimum construction and equipment standard for breweries looking to provide catered food options for public events. Breweries can still host food trucks or provide crackers, pretzels or pre-packaged food items without applying for a Host Facility Permit or complying with all CRFC and plan check requirements (see options above). The new permit option is listed below:
- Become a “Host Facility” for a Direct Sales Caterer from the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health to offer catered food at your brewery during regular business hours (direct to public sales). This permit allows breweries to expand their food options by hosting Direct Sales Caterers who can sell and serve food at their brewer and includes a plan review fee. HOST FACILITY PERMIT REQUIRED FOR BREWERY.
- Operational (Plan Check) Requirement for a Host Facility (per CA Retail Food Code and San Diego County DEH) listed below. Typical plan review fees for review either $284 for consultation or $545 for full review. This is the standard process anytime a health permit is required.
- Commercial Restrooms
- Warewashing Sink
- Grease trap may be required by your local wastewater authority – consult your local wastewater authority to check on requirements
- Janitorial Sink
- Handwashing Sink
- Electrical Power Source
- Potable Hot and Cold Water
- Location for Direct Sales Caterer
- Annual Inspection
- More information and an application can be found online at:
- General Information: http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/deh/fhd/food/catering.html
- Plan Check Requirements: http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/deh/fhd/food/catering.html
- Plan Check Flow Chart: http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/deh/fhd/food/pdf/hostfacilityflowchart_pc.pdf
- Host Facility Plan Submittal Checklist: http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/deh/fhd/food/pdf/hostfacilityguidance_pc.pdf