Tuesday, February 16, 2010

WA on the way to approving tastings at grocery stores.

WA House Bill 2688 passed a couple days ago, and it now goes to the Senate for approval. The bill writes last year's tasting pilot program into law, and in brief:
  • Allows grocery stores (defined as at least 9,000 square feet, with groceries constituting at least 50% of their business) to purchase a $200 endorsement allowing them to conduct tastings of beer and wine in-store so long as they have had no more than one public safety violation in the last two years.
  • There must be a suitable area that minors and already intoxicated persons can be screened from.
  • Service is limited to two, 2-ounce tastes per person. Food must also be made available. Customers must remain in the service area while drinking.
  • Servers of the licensee must have the mandatory MAST training and permits.
  • There are several tied-house provisions. For example, advertising is restricted and must be conducted and paid for by the store itself. The store must pay for the samples itself, they may not be donated by the brewer or winery.
  • However, exceptions to the tied house provisions allow wineries and breweries to conduct the actual tastings themselves, including bottle signing, talks, etc.. However, participation of the brewers/vintners may not be required by the store.
  • The bill provides for a variety of punishments for violations, including suspension and/or revocation of the endorsement, and up to a $500 fine.
  • It also allows the LCB the right to refuse endorsements or place restrictions in Alcohol Impact Areas (AIAs), where chronic inebriation is a recognized problem.
The Senate Bill is SB 6329.

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The Twentyfirst Amendment Meets the 21st Century by Russell Hews Everett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. The opinions expressed on this page are purely my own, and should not be taken to constitute legal representation or advice.