Coming Soon: Taste Testing at Virginia Liquor Stores

Spirit sampling law aims to boost state revenue

Friday, Apr 23, 2010  |  Updated 9:00 PM EDT
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Coming Soon: Taste Testing at Virginia Liquor Stores

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Virginia needs money. And they aim to get it by giving us all a drink on the house.

A new law goes in effect in July that allows ABC liquor stores to let you sample your purchase before you buy it.

The method seems to work at ice cream parlors. A little taste from a tiny spoon and suddenly that safe vanilla cone turns into a double-scoop of the Flavor of the Month.

Taking a risk on a bottle of fancy liquor would set you back much more than a typical dessert.  It’s a luxury that more adults are skipping in this tough economy. So, more varieties of spirits collect dust on store shelves.  

Virginia wouldn’t be the first state to try liquor sampling. Forty-three other states have already jumped on board, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Bigger profits at liquor stores means more money for cash-strapped states.

In Virginia, ABC stores puts $1.5 billion into the state’s general fund over the last five years, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The new law will come with some restrictions. Customers can only sample 1.5 ounces—the amount of one shot—at each tasting event, ABC spokesperson Kathleen Shaw told the AP.

Not quite a party, but likely a change to which many Virginians will raise their glasses.  

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