Sonoma distillery can now offer tastings

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB933 last week, distilleries giving the same rights that wineries and breweries have enjoyed for decades – the ability to charge for tastes of their products. This was especially good news for Sonoma’s Fred and Amy Groth, whose Prohibition Spirits distills everything from HelloCello to Sugar Daddy Rum.

Within hours after the bill was signed into law on Thursday, the Groths were offering tastes at their distillery on Eighth Street East in Sonoma.

“We did celebrate – this is something we’ve worked on for a while,” Fred Groth said, adding that the celebration was a one-time event. “We don’t want to have a tasting room and be open for set hours. We’ll be doing it by appointment only.”

The Groths do want the option to lead educational tours of their unique distillery, which now includes a custom-built still. Fred Groth said he and wife, Amy, plan to teach visitors about different types of spirits and how they’re produced in Sonoma, which can now be capped off by a taste of the liquors they offer.

“Previously, you could give samples under certain circumstances. But you couldn’t charge for it, so what’s the point?” he said.

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