Bill to Allow Wine Sampling in Utah Liquor Stores Passes Out of Senate

(KCPW News) A bill that would allow retailers to sample wines in Utah liquor stores passed out of the Senate on Monday morning. Republican Senator John Valentine, of Orem, said that the bill was a way to streamline the purchase process for Utah restaurants.

“When a licensee wants to sample wines or other alcoholic drinks…presently all they can do is come to Salt Lake to the warehouse here and that’s where they do the sampling,” Valentine said. “That is actually quite a burden on many of our licensees – and so SB239 allows the sampling at various remote locations throughout the state,” he said.

Senate Bill 239 lets wine buyers from restaurants taste, but not swallow wines they are sampling in a liquor store. Previously, a buyer would have been required to go to the DABC warehouse to taste a product before making a purchase. Mike Brown, Beverage Director for the Bill White Restaurant Group in Park City, said that the measure would make his job easier.

“I mean literally my office is just a block away from the liquor store up here, and if somebody were to come up and say hey, we’ve got 6 bottles of wine we’d love you to try, for me its going to be much more realistic and much more reasonable to zip around the corner and spend 20 30 minutes there talking about some wine, learning about some wine and sampling the wine,” he said. “So I personally think it would be great if they would allow that to happen in the stores locally.”

Last year, then-Senator Ross Romero floated a similar bill, but it failed to pass out of the House. The new measure has been sent to that chamber for consideration during this last week of the legislative session.