New Ohio law allows free samples of beer, wine

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A new state law will allow Ohio retailers to
hand out free samples of beer and wine.

Existing state law allows sampling of beer, wine and spirits at
retailer such as grocery stores and wine shops, but customers have to
pay for their samples.

The Dayton Daily News reports that the new measure -- which takes
effect July 10 -- allows retailers to host free tastings. But it
preserves a minimum 50-cents-per-sample charge for liquor stronger
than 42 proof.

Consumers shouldn’t assume all wine or beer samples will be free
starting in July. Many wine tastings held in the region’s retail shops
are hosted by representatives of wine distributors that act as
wholesalers in Ohio’s alcohol system, and distributors are excluded
from the new law, reinforcing the line of separation between
wholesaler and retailer.

State Sen. Jim Hughes, a Columbus Republican who sponsored the
legislation, says the law will lead to more sales, more state revenue
and "ultimately aid in job creation."

Hughes says no opposition emerged to the bill as it made its way
through the Legislature.

Some stores that WCPO talked with said they would likely keep some
nominal charge to cover the cost of the tastings.

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