RICHMOND, Va. — With about 5,000 brands of liquor available on store shelves nationwide, suppliers of some top-selling spirits hope modernization of state alcohol laws will get customers to try new products boost revenue for them and states.
Virginia is one of the latest states to change what critics say are outdated alcohol laws. Beginning in July, the state will let customers sample products before buying at about 330 Alcohol and Beverage Control, or ABC, stores.
New Jersey, Vermont and Maine also eased their tasting laws in the last year, and a total of 43 states have changed liquor laws to allow spirit sampling at stores, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a trade association representing nearly 70 percent of all liquor brands.
Tastings laws are part of a larger movement to modernize state alcohol laws to cater to consumer demand and help generate cash for money-strapped states without having to raise taxes or cut programs. States also have moved to repeal age-old prohibitions on selling alcohol on Sundays and Election Day.