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Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011

Washington Senate okays beer, wine tasting at farmers markets

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A limited number of Washington farmers markets would be allowed to offer samples of wine and beer available for purchase, under a bill approved by the state Senate.

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 41-4 to establish a pilot program for beer and wine tasting at 10 farmers markets throughout the state. Samples would be limited to 2 ounces each, with no customer receiving more than 4 ounces total.

Wineries and microbreweries offering samples also would have to provide food or be adjacent to a food vendor.

Sen. Jean Kohl-Welles, the Seattle Democrat sponsoring the bill, says it would allow local businesses to promote their products and gain wider exposure.

The pilot program would be overseen by the state Liquor Control Board. It would run from July 1 until Sept. 30, 2012.