TRENTON, NJ – In one of his final gubernatorial acts, Governor Jon Corzine signed legislation last night allowing New Jerseyans the chance to sample distilled spirits at liquor stores, according to the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), which said the bill modernized an outdated law that had only allowed for wine tastings.

“Finally, 76 years after Prohibition Repeal you can go to a package store in New Jersey and taste both wine and spirits responsibly before you buy them,” said DISCUS President Peter Cressy.  “Spirits tasting events are a terrific tool small business owners can use to help their customers make better purchasing decisions.”

President of the New Jersey Liquor Stores Alliance Fred Leighton added, “We are very excited to offer limited samplings of beer and spirits in addition to wine to further educate our consumers.”

Senate Bill 2098, sponsored by Senators Paul A. Sarlo and Sean T. Kean, and its Assembly equivalent sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Cryan, gives adult consumers the opportunity to sample up to three separate one-half ounce servings of spirits in any one calendar day at a pre-planned tasting event. The bill passed the Senate June 25, 2009 by a count of 34-3 and the Assembly on January 7, 2010 by a vote of 74-2. The law takes effect May 1.

Forty-three states currently allow some form of spirits tasting. Twenty-nine states, including New Jersey, now allow spirits tastings at off-premise establishments, Cressy noted.