WASHINGTON, July 2, 2002 — Under a new law signed yesterday, South Carolina now joins the growing trend of states permitting consumers to sample distilled spirits at tasting events in liquor stores, according to Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. Cressy. The Distilled Spirits Council has made the passage of tastings laws a key element of its market access agenda. “South Carolina is the latest in a growing trend of states that are catching up with modern consumer preferences,” said Cressy, noting that South Carolina is the ninth state to allow spirits tastings at retail premises in the last three years, similar to wine tastings which have been legal for years. “With industry growth closely tied to the premium and super premium categories, it is essential that consumers have an opportunity to taste high-end products,” added Cressy. “At our urging, these states are modernizing their liquor laws to provide consumers with more choices and increased convenience. At the same time, states are benefiting from much needed increased tax revenue.” Under the new law, South Carolina adult consumers now will have the opportunity to try up to four one-half ounce samples of distilled spirits at preplanned tastings events in local liquor stores. “More and more of our customers are showing a growing interest in premium spirits. They want to buy some of the new spirits products available but they would first like to know what they taste like,” said Suzie Riga, Vice President of Green’s Beverages, which has three liquor stores in Columbia, Greenville and Myrtle Beach. “Through these tasting events, consumers are given the opportunity to expand their knowledge of – and taste for — spirits from around the world.” The trend of spirits tastings has just taken off in recent years. Currently, 23 states permit off-premise spirits tastings in some form. “This law provides a real boost for the state’s liquor retailers,” Riga continued. “With more than 4,000 brands of distilled spirits on the market in the United States, tastings events are an effective and responsible way to encourage adult consumers to try new spirits products as well as existing brands that may be new to these consumers.”