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Monday, September 19, 2011

S.F. Bartenders to Gov. Jerry Brown: Let Us Infuse Our Booze

Posted By on Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 3:35 PM

click to enlarge Bon Vivants: Will Guv Brown have what they're having?
  • Bon Vivants: Will Guv Brown have what they're having?

Josh Harris and Scott Baird -- two San Francisco bartenders, dandies, and "cocktail consultants" known as the Bon Vivants -- are trying to save one of the 600 bills sitting on the governor's desk from being vetoed. The two are shilling for petition signatures on Change.org, asking Governor Jerry Brown to sign off on SB 32 -- a law that would strip the ban on bars infusing their own alcohols. 


While Brown has made it known he's not afraid of stamping out superfluous bills -- "Not every human problem needs a law" he has famously said -- the two cocktail chemists argue that, actually, this problem does need to be legislated. 


The Prohibition-era law banned bars from creating infusions, allowing the

California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to ticket barkeeps

for serving sangria, limoncello, and fruit-flavored tequilas --

basically any drink where a bar has altered the alcohol content with its

own fruit, vegetables, herbs, or spices. Bartenders say cops have used this antiquated law to harass bars.

"It's hurting these establishments financially, and hindering the creative and artistic craft of the cocktail," Harris said.

It only makes sense that state Sen. Mark Leno (D-S.F.) was the one to pen the bill, considering creative cocktails are our city's birthright. So far, the online petition has 568 signatures, and the Bon Vivants are hoping Brown will sign Leno's law this week, which is, coincidentally, San Francisco's Cocktail Week. (Wait, isn't that every week around here?)

This brings the duo's cocktail promotion work full circle, given they both sit on the event's board.

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Lauren Smiley

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