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House panel approves bill to allow beer and wine sampling at farmers markets

Post by Melissa Santos / The Olympian on April 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm | No Comments »
April 2, 2013 3:04 pm
Professor Bamboozle entertains a packed crowd at the Olympia Farmers Market April 22, 2012. (Steve Bloom/staff photographer)
Professor Bamboozle entertains a packed crowd at the Olympia Farmers Market April 22, 2012. (Steve Bloom/staff photographer)

Washington’s farmers markets are one step closer to being able to serve beer and wine samples.

The House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee voted in favor of a bill Tuesday that would allow farmers markets to apply for an endorsement so their vendors could serve alcohol samples.

Under Senate Bill 5674, domestic wineries and microbreweries at farmers markets would be eligible to serve 2-ounce samples, as long as they also serve food or are next to a food booth.

Only three wineries or breweries would be allowed to serve samples simultaneously at the same farmers market.

The House committee tweaked the proposal  at the last minute to make sure that the Olympia Farmers Market would qualify for the alcohol-sampling program.

“The big concern was that inadvertently Olympia’s farmers market would not have been in that final version of the bill,” said Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, who chairs the committee. “I think that this will address that.”

In 2011, Washington lawmakers approved a pilot program allowing 10 farmers markets to serve beer and wine samples. The pilot program ended in October 2012.

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