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Hard Liquor Tastings, Beer Growler Refills Now Legal in California

Jan 3, 2014

Craft breweries and liquor distillers in California could get shots of new business as a result of two new state laws taking effect in 2014.  And as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, beer and liquor drinkers will likely be happy as well.

Wine tasting is big business these days.  Beer tasting, too.  But not liquor tasting – at least, not in California.  Until now, liquor distillers could offer tastings; they just couldn’t charge for them.  Now, they can.  Lance Winters with St. George Spirits in Alameda says he can’t afford to offer free tastings.  Now, he hopes to draw more customers to his distillery, and compete with breweries and wineries.

Winters: “What we’ll do is we’ll have probably three different flights available.  And the first one will be the basic flight, which will probably be $10 or $15.  And then we’ll have flights that’ll include more expensive products for a slightly higher tasting fee.”

Another new law is intended to help craft breweries grow.  It allows them to refill large glass bottles known as “growlers” that were purchased elsewhere.

Both bills passed the legislature without any opposition.