Beginning January 1, 2014, distilleries in California may charge customers for tastings rather than just give away their samples for free. This new law provides distilleries the opportunity to do what California wineries and breweries had previously been able to do.
Unfortunately, this new law does not also permit distilleries to sell their bottled product at their distillery though this is permissible in many other states.
Section 23363.1 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read, in pertinent part:
(c) Tastings on the licensee’s premises shall be subject to the following conditions:
(1) Tastings of distilled spirits shall not exceed one-fourth of one ounce and shall be limited to no more than six tastes per individual per day.
(2) Tastings shall only include the products that are authorized to be produced or bottled by or for the licensee.
(3) A person under 21 years of age shall not serve tastes of distilled spirits.
(4) Tastings of distilled spirits shall not be given in the form of a cocktail or a mixed drink.
(d) Notwithstanding Section 25600, the licensee may provide distilled spirits without charge for any tastings conducted pursuant to this section. The licensee may charge for tastings conducted by the licensee on its licensed premises.
(e) This section shall not relieve the holder of a distilled spirits manufacturer’s license of any civil or criminal liability arising out of a violation of Section 25602.
To review the full text of the bill, visit this link (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB933).