July 20, 2009

Beer tastings on tap in some states

A Brewers Association official says legal beer tastings in states like Texas, Vermont and Washington can be a boon to breweries and microbreweries.

Association director Paul Gatza said beer tastings in grocery stores and other locales in those states can help the alcohol industry as they offer an additional way for breweries to market their products to the general public, USA Today said Monday.

One of the big benefits of a tasting is it allows a brewer to make a face-to-face connection with the person enjoying the beer, Gatza said.

Under a year-long pilot program in Washington state, both wine and beer tastings have been offered in 30 grocery stores statewide. Thomas Graham of Texas's Alcoholic Beverage Commission said his state approved beer and wine tastings in grocery stores in 2007.

Grocery stores in New York, Oregon, Florida, South Dakota and Vermont also can host beer tastings, state officials said.

USA Today said North Carolina is attempting to legalize beer tastings as related legislation is awaiting approval from the state House of Representatives and Gov. Bev Perdue.