Blue Law Banning Spirits Tastings at ABC Stores Goes Away
RICHMOND, VA – In a strong move toward modernizing Virginia’s alcohol laws, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell signed legislation knocking down a decades-old ban on liquor tasting events at ABC stores, according to the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) which said the bill modernized an outdated law that had only allowed for beer and wine tastings.
House Bill 952, sponsored by Delegate S. Chris Jones, 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.
“In today’s economy it’s more important than ever to give customers the tools to make better purchasing decisions,” said DISCUS Vice President David Wojnar, noting that tastings are controlled events that must first be approved by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. “Most consumers wouldn’t purchase a nice $40-$50 bottle of Scotch if they’ve never tasted it. Repealing the ban on spirits tastings is a great, modern convenience for Virginians that ultimately helps Virginia’s bottom line.”
HB 952 passed the House on February 12 by a count of 75-17 and the Senate on February 23 by a vote of 31-9. Governor McDonnell signed the bill into law yesterday and it takes effect July 1, 2010.
Forty-three states currently allow some form of spirits tasting. Thirty-one states, including Virginia, now allow spirits tastings at off-premise establishments, Wojnar noted.