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Grocery Store Wine and Beer Tasting

Jamala Henderson
03/03/2008

Washington lawmakers are considering a measure that would allow free beer and wine tasting inside grocery stores. KUOW's Jamala Henderson has more.

TRANSCRIPT

CURRENTLY GROCERY STORES IN WASHINGTON STATE CAN ONLY SERVE FREE BEER AND WINE SAMPLES IF THEY HAVE A SPECIALTY STORE LICENSE. THIS NEW MEASURE WOULD CREATE A STATEWIDE PILOT PROGRAM ALLOWING 30 GROCERY STORES TO SERVE THE ALCOHOL WITHOUT THAT SPECIAL PERMIT. THE STATE LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD WOULD OVERSEE THE PLAN.

SEATTLE DEMOCRATIC SENATOR JEANNE KOHL-WELLES IS ONE OF THE SPONSORS OF THE BILL. SHE SAYS THE PROGRAM WOULD BE A WIN-WIN SITUATION FOR GROCERS, THEIR CUSTOMERS AND WASHINGTON'S GROWING WINE AND BEER INDUSTRY.

KOHL-WELLES: "There's nothing in the legislation that requires that only Washington wines and beers be included in these samplings. But, the whole idea behind this is to really promote our own wines and beers produced in this state."

KOHL-WELLES SAYS IT WOULD GIVE PEOPLE THE CHANCE TO TRY A PRICIER PRODUCT BEFORE PURCHASING, AND FIND OUT MORE FROM EXPERTS. SHE SAYS CUSTOMERS WOULD BE LIMITED TO TWO, TWO-OUNCE SAMPLES.

BUT REPRESENTATIVE ROGER GOODMAN DOESN'T THINK IT'S SUCH A GOOD IDEA. THE KIRKLAND DEMOCRAT SAYS HE'S FINE WITH GIVING ADULTS THE CHANCE TO SAMPLE WINES AND BEERS FROM AROUND THE STATE, BUT NOT IN GROCERY STORES.

GOODMAN: "And so just making it more available, and sending one more conflicting message by allowing people to drink in a supermarket, I just think sends the wrong message. And again there might not be any consequences with this particular, narrowly drawn bill. But I just have to stand up and oppose it."

THE SENATE PASSED THE BEER AND WINE TASTING PILOT PROJECT EARLIER THIS MONTH. BUT IT STILL NEEDS APPROVAL FROM THE HOUSE. JAMALA HENDERSON, KUOW NEWS.

© Copyright 2008, KUOW

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