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State Senate OKs spirits samples at state liquor stores
Posted by Queenie Wong
Updated at 4:10 p.m.
A bill that would introduce spirit samplings in state liquor stores - much like beer and wine tastings at groceries - cleared its final legislative hurdle passed the state Senate on Wednesday.
Sponsored by Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, the bill would allow the Washington State Liquor Control Board to establish a pilot project for spirits sampling in state and contract liquor stores.
The Senate passed ESHB 1202 with a 31-17 vote. It now heads to Gov. Chris Gregoire to sign into law. It now goes back to the House for a vote on an amendment to add a survey of liquor store managers to the liquor board's report on the pilot project.
The bill cleared the House earlier this month with an 80-18 vote.
Under the bill, the liquor board would select 30 locations to offer spirits sampling for a year beginning this September.
Samples would be allowed no more than once a week at each store, and each sample would not exceed a quarter ounce. Customers under the age of 21 years old and those intoxicated would not be allowed to sample spirits. The board would report on the pilot program to the Legislature by December 2012.
“The whole purpose of this is to allow consumers to become familiar with new and different products,” Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, said on the Senate floor.
Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, urged lawmakers to vote against the bill because private industry, not the state, should be in the business of selling liquor and the bill just “works around the margins.”
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