Intoxicating Liquors FAQ 22

What are some of the key limitations or requirements that apply to wine and fermented malt beverage sampling at Class A licensed premises?

Roger Johnson of the Wisconsin Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement Section in the Wisconsin Department of Revenue recently provided League attorneys with the following list of key limitations and requirements for alcohol beverage sampling at Class A licensed premises:

Samples must be provided free of charge; a Class A beer licensee may provide two three-ounce samples of fermented malt beverages per person of legal drinking age per day; if the retailer also has a Class A liquor license, he may also provide two three-ounce samples of wine per person of legal drinking age per day. The samples are restricted to the two three-ounce samples—it is not a cumulative amount (i.e., six one-ounce samples, three two-ounce samples, etc. are not permitted).

Samples may not be provided to underage persons, even if the underage person is accompanied by a parent, guardian or spouse of legal drinking age.

Tasting is only allowed between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Municipalities may prohibit wine sampling, but not fermented malt beverage sampling.

Only fermented malt beverage and wine sampling is allowed; distilled spirit sampling is not allowed.

Fermented malt beverage and wine samples must be sold by the wholesaler to the retailer and invoiced to the retailer (unless the provider is a winery offering samples of its own wine at its retail premise).

Servers of taste samples of wine/fermented malt beverages must have an operator’s (bartender’s) license from the municipality where the tasting is taking place, or be under the immediate, visual supervision of a licensed operator, licensee, agent of the retail corporation/LLC, or someone deemed to have operator privileges (a “liquor salesperson” permit issued to employees of liquor wholesalers is not a replacement for an operator’s license).

Beer wholesalers and their employees may not provide or participate in providing fermented malt beverage taste samples at Class A premises; for example, a wholesaler may not reimburse the retailer or brewer for costs incurred at the tasting nor may the wholesaler have their reps (i.e., models, etc.) assist at the tasting. Brewers may provide free taste samples at Class A premises, but must purchase these samples from the Class A licensee.