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2015 Survey of State Tasting Room Laws for Craft Distilleries

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Since the beginning of the year I have been collecting information on the different state laws that govern distillery tasting room laws around the country. I completed the survey and the results have been published in the Fall 2015 issue of Distiller Magazine. Since this is a very important topic I wanted to post the information from the survey here.

2015 Tasting Room Survey

If there are any errors in the survey please email me eric@distilling.com to let me know.

ADI 2015 Survey of State Tasting Room Laws for Craft Distilleries.pdf

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Nice work EZ! this is a great tool for those getting into the industry

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Pretty certain Colorado does not allow paid tastings (to the public at least). I'll email Eric the correction.

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Great post! Slight correction to PA - tasting rooms here (including satellite tasting rooms) are allowed to serve three 1/2 ounce pours for a total of 1.5 ounces per person per day.

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Pretty certain Colorado does not allow paid tastings (to the public at least). I'll email Eric the correction.

I am not a lawyer but almost every reference to 12-47-301 in the Colorado Liquor code refers to "sampling of malt, vinous, or spiritous liquors that may occur on the premises of a retail liquor store licensee or liquor-licensed drugstore licensee by adult patrons of the licensee pursuant to the provisions of section 12-47-301 (10)." 12-47-103 (37.5)

Stephen Gould suggested that because 12-47-407 (6)(a)-(6)(d) does not reference or refer to 12-47-301 the restrictions for tastings conducted by retail liquor store licensee or liquor-licensed drugstore licensee do not apply. If this is not true then it would also mean that Colorado distillers who offer tastings would have to destroy any liquor leftover from a tasting and buy their own bottles from a wholesaler to use in their tasting room.

Do you know of anyone at the Colorado Department of Revenue-Liquor Enforcement Division that could give an official statement on the correct reading of these statutes?

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Great post! Slight correction to PA - tasting rooms here (including satellite tasting rooms) are allowed to serve three 1/2 ounce pours for a total of 1.5 ounces per person per day.

Thank you for the note on this.

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I am not a lawyer but almost every reference to 12-47-301 in the Colorado Liquor code refers to "sampling of malt, vinous, or spiritous liquors that may occur on the premises of a retail liquor store licensee or liquor-licensed drugstore licensee by adult patrons of the licensee pursuant to the provisions of section 12-47-301 (10)." 12-47-103 (37.5)

Stephen Gould suggested that because 12-47-407 (6)(a)-(6)(d) does not reference or refer to 12-47-301 the restrictions for tastings conducted by retail liquor store licensee or liquor-licensed drugstore licensee do not apply. If this is not true then it would also mean that Colorado distillers who offer tastings would have to destroy any liquor leftover from a tasting and buy their own bottles from a wholesaler to use in their tasting room.

Do you know of anyone at the Colorado Department of Revenue-Liquor Enforcement Division that could give an official statement on the correct reading of these statutes?

Maybe he was referring to 12-47-402 (6)(a)-(d)?

(6)(a) Any manufacturer of spirituous liquors that has received a license pursuant to this section is authorized to conduct tastings and sell to customers spirituous liquors of its own manufacture on its licensed premises and at one other licensed sales room location at no additional cost. Such additional sales room location may be included in the license at the time of the original license issuance or by supplemental application.

(B) Any manufacturer of spirituous liquors that has received a license pursuant to this section is authorized to serve and sell food, general merchandise, and nonalcohol beverages for consumption on the premises or to be taken off the premises by the consumer.

© Prior to operating an additional sales room location, a manufacturer of spirituous liquors that has received a license pursuant to this section shall send a copy of the application or supplemental application for an additional sales room to the local licensing authority in the jurisdiction in which such sales room is proposed. The local licensing authority may request that the proposed sales room location license be denied by the state licensing authority if the local licensing authority determines that issuance of the proposed sales room license would be in conflict with the reasonable requirements of the neighborhood and Page 26 of 63 COLORADO LIQUOR CODE the desires of the adult inhabitants as evidenced by petitions, remonstrances, or otherwise.

(d) The state licensing agency shall not grant a license for an additional sales room unless the applicant has complied with local zoning restrictions and the provisions of section 12-47-301(2)(a).

The tasting rules fall under the broader 12-47-301. (Licensing in general) section. Yes. some of the tasting rules apply specifically to retail liquor store licensees, but then subsection 10 ends with this tidbit, exempting wineries (NOT distilleries):

(f) Nothing in this subsection (10) shall affect the ability of a Colorado winery licensed pursuant to
section 12-47-402 or 12-47-403 to conduct a tasting pursuant to the authority of section 12-47-402(2) or
12-47-403(2)(e).

I'd say pretty much everything in subsection 10 (tastings) applies and that's how the local distilleries I personally know are currently operating. One point - distilleries *do* need to buy their own bottles from a wholesaler to use in their tasting room - themselves. To self-distribute (including tasting room sales) in Colorado, a manufacturer must also have a wholesaler license.

I don't know anyone personally in CO liquor enforcement, but I'd be glad to give them a call next week and see if I can get clarification on the tasting rules.

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Great post! Slight correction to PA - tasting rooms here (including satellite tasting rooms) are allowed to serve three 1/2 ounce pours for a total of 1.5 ounces per person per day.

Correction to this. A tasting room in PA is allowed to sell as many cocktails of as many oz. to any patron, of course while not serving or selling to the visibly intoxicated.

The law mentioned here is for free samples.

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Correction to this. A tasting room in PA is allowed to sell as many cocktails of as many oz. to any patron, of course while not serving or selling to the visibly intoxicated.

The law mentioned here is for free samples.

Yes. I was commenting on his "Samples" column which incorrectly listed a 1 Oz maximum. The cocktails column you refer to was fine in the original matrix.

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This is a start. The problem is "stuff" happens. Things change. Many of you are pushing for changes. The challenge now is to verify and keep this up.

I once made a compliance manual on a single subject, how to register/qualify/etc brands for shipment into states, for a company that distributed in most states. I assure you it is a nightmare. You have what the law says, what the regulations or rules say, what the policy is, and how individuals can misinterpret their own agencies requirements, leading to repeated conversations. Once you have that down as best you can, you face the problem of updates. Few individuals have the time, determination, patience, or frankly, ability to do that.

Look to the California Wine Institute's treatment, on its web site, of the rules for interstate shipment, for an example of what needs to be done to make a project like this work.

Since 2004, Wine Institute and ShipCompliant have partnered to provide Wine Institute members with clear and accurate details and documents for compliant direct-to-consumer wine shipments in each state. The State Shipping Laws for Wineries Portal on Wine Institute's website is powered by ShipCompliant and continuously updated—through a joint effort—to stay current as a foremost source of accurate direct shipping compliance information for wineries.

Additionally, Wine Institute and ShipCompliant collaborate to develop tools that help wineries manage complex direct-to-consumer compliance requirements. In 2007, Wine Institute licensed ShipCompliant's State Sales and Excise Tax Rate Tool (Tax Tool) as a benefit to all member wineries. Wine Institute staff are also frequent contributors to the ShipCompliant Blog and DIRECT conference.

You will find that at http://wineinstitute.shipcompliant.com/AboutUs.aspx.

Now ask yourselves, who can fill that roll for you guys? Might I suggest that you look to/petition ADI or other organizations to see if you can convince them to foot the bill to have someone keep things current and accurate. You pay for membership. Ask for a return on that investment.

PS - I am not volunteering for that job!

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