Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California beer, wine industries consider their future

Chris Keeton filters and transfers IPA between tanks at the Rubicon Brewing Company in Sacramento on June 23, 2014.
Chris Keeton filters and transfers IPA between tanks at the Rubicon Brewing Company in Sacramento on June 23, 2014. The Sacramento Bee file

In California, alcohol is never far from the Capitol – even with nary a fundraiser in sight. Over the past few years, lawmakers have voted to allow wine- and beer-tasting at farmers’ markets, drinking on party bikes, and underage winemakers to sip and spit.

It only makes sense for a state with one of the world’s most famous wine regions and a growing craft brewing industry. These are powerful interests, and they know how to throw their weight around, as the liquor lobby did this session to kill (and then revive) a bill loosening restrictions on distillers selling directly to the public.

So what’s next? Representatives from the beer and wine sectors will gather to discuss recent trends, future developments and their policy implications during a daylong conference hosted by the Center for California Studies, Sacramento State, starting at 8:45 a.m. at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria on I Street. Among those scheduled for panels are California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross; Lori Ajax, chief deputy director for the state Department of Alcohol Beverage Control; and former state Sen. Noreen Evans.

FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT: Watch Gov. Jerry Brown age 35 years over 9 seconds.

JAILHOUSE ROCK: Four years into a plan to reduce the population of California’s overcrowded prisons, what do we know about the effects of realignment? In his latest report, Public Policy Institute of California researcher Magnus Lofstrom concludes that the program has largely been a success: the total number of people incarcerated is down, violent crime has not increased, and recidivism rates are not dramatically changed. He will discuss those findings, noon at the Capitol Event Center on 11th Street, before a panel discussion with state and local law enforcement officials on how realignment has affected crime and costs.

WALK THIS WAY: The Sacramento Archives Crawl returns for a fifth peek at California history through state and local special collections. Themed this year around power generation, displays include material from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, a photo exhibit on the evolution of electric power in Sacramento, and artifacts from the former Mather and McClellan air force bases. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the California State Archives on O Street, the California State Library on N Street, the Sacramento Public Library on I Street and the Center for Sacramento History on Sequoia Pacific Blvd.

WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT: While urban water users seem to be adjusting to the drought, meeting mandatory water reduction goals for the third straight month, California farmers remain critical of cutbacks that have fallowed fields and eliminated jobs (even as revenues grew last year). Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, will lead agricultural groups in a “Take Back Our Water” rally to call for more dam storage and protest environmental regulations that keep a large percentage of water off-limits for human use, 11 a.m. at Rojas-Pierce Park in Mendota.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, who turns 62 today.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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