Grocery Shopping Just Got Fun!
In the state of Washington, a new license endorsement is available for grocery stores who want to offer beer and wine tasting in their stores. The new law was effective June 10, 2010. Like any other law, there is some state control;
Tastings must be conducted under the following conditions:
- Samples must be 2 ounces or less, up to a total of 4 ounces per customer during any one visit to the premises;
- The licensee must have food available for the tasting participants;
- Customers must remain in the service area while consuming samples; and
- The service area and facilities must be located within the licensee’s fully enclosed retail area. The retail area must be of a size and design so that the licensee can observe and control persons in the area to ensure that persons under 21 years of age and apparently intoxicated persons do not possess or consume alcohol. SSB 6329 – Fact Sheet SSB 6329 – Additional Requirements
The following requirements also apply:
- Employees of licensees whose duties include serving during tasting activities must hold a class 12 alcohol server permit;
- Wineries and breweries may provide personal services such as pouring at a grocery store holding a beer and wine tasting endorsement. The cost of sampling may not be borne, directly or indirectly, by the brewery or winery; and
- A licensee may advertise tasting events only within the store, on a store website, in store newsletters and flyers, and via e-mail and mail to customers who have requested notice of events.
Washingtonians, this will be a new and unique experience. I think a lot of people are intimidated by the fancy wine bars. This will give people the opportunity to get a few tastes in as they frantically fill their carts with groceries. Just like the wine bars, you’re more willing to try a new wine if you get to taste it first. For us Seattle rain people, it will be strangely unique but I really think it will be successful and draw a lot of attention. Wine sales will spruce up and (fingers crossed) and hopefully it will add more of a varied selection of good wines. Maybe, just maybe, the shelves will be a little more organized. It isn’t difficult at present to figure out. The less expensive wines are on the bottom shelf, and the more spendy bottles on the top shelf. The problem is that the California reds are often combined with the imports, under a huge sign that says “Australia”. Organization is the key. For us that know exactly what we are looking for, we want to quickly grab and go. There can be at least some element of class. After all, it is wine, not the canned vegetables section!
The mere fact that there is a tasting limit, keeps me from coming home late after running to the store for laundry soap. Of course it also provides a great reason for smelling like alcohol even if you did stop off at the wine bar! (Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…)