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Brewers says state's alcohol agency understaffed

A debate is brewing in Sacramento over regulating California beer.

"There has been a concern that there has been inadequate enforcement staff available," said Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata.

The issue is whether the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has enough people to effectively regulate brewers, especially the increasingly popular craft brewing industry.

California has about 430 craft brewers — Sonoma County, alone, has at least 20 — and they say more effective regulation will help ensure market fairness, catch bad actors, curb illegal activities and better serve the public.

"Generally we feel that better regulation would be good for everybody," said Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association.


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