New bill proposes legal liquor tasting at retail stores, taverns

COLUMBUS -- Those who make or distribute beer or liquor would be able to promote their product or provide sample servings at taverns and other establishments without getting a liquor permit, under a bill that's advancing in the Legislature.
Under the measure, approved Tuesday by the Ohio House of Representatives 83-0, those identified as manufacturers, suppliers, brokers or wholesale distributors of beer or alcohol would have to purchase the alcohol at the ordinary retail price from the permit holder whose premises are involved.
Currently, state law neither permits nor prohibits so-called "tasting" or "sampling" activities at retail stores and taverns, state Rep. Jim Carmichael, a Wooster Republican and the bill's sponsor, said.
In the absence of state rules, federal law has governed the events and the proposed measure would merely establish state rules developed by the Ohio Liquor Control Commission on the issue, Carmichael said.
"We want to set rules about the number and amount of servings" permitted, Carmichael said.
The measure emerged from the House State Government Committee earlier this month by a unanimous vote.
The Ohio Senate has yet to assign the measure to a standing committee for further study.

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