Senate Bill No. 508
(By Senators Beach, Edgell, Kessler (Acting President) and Klempa)
[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;
reported February 23, 2011.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §60-3A-3a; and to amend and reenact §60-3A-4 of said code, all relating to liquor sampling; authorizing liquor sampling on Class A retail licenses; setting requirements for holding a liquor sampling; creating penalties; authorizing emergency rules or legislative rules; and defining terms.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §60-3A-3a; and that §60-3A-4 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3A. SALES BY RETAIL LIQUOR LICENSEES.
§60-3A-3a. Liquor sampling.
(a) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, a Class A retail licensee may, with the written approval of the commissioner, conduct a liquor sampling event on a designated sampling day.
(b) At least five business days prior to the liquor sampling, the Class A retail licensee shall submit a written proposal to the commissioner requesting to hold a liquor sampling event, including:
(1) The day of the event;
(2) The location of the event;
(3) The times for the event; and
(4) The specific brand and flavor of the West Virginia product to be sampled.
(c) Upon approval by the commissioner, a Class A retail licensee may serve a complimentary liquor sample of the approved
brand and flavor of the West Virginia product that is purchased by the Class A retail licensee from the commissioner.
(d) The complimentary liquor samples on any sampling day shall not exceed:
(1) One separate and individual sample serving per customer
verified to be twenty-one years of age or older; and
(2) One ounce in total volume.
(e) Servers at the liquor sampling event shall:
(1) Be employees of the Class A retail licensee;
(2) Be at least twenty-one years of age or older; and
(3) Have specific knowledge of the West Virginia product being sampled to convey to the customer.
(f) All servers at the liquor sampling event shall verify the age of the customer sampling liquor by requiring and reviewing proper forms of identification. Servers at the liquor sampling event may not serve any person who is:
(1) Under the age of twenty-one years; or
(g) A liquor sampling event shall:
(1) Occur only inside the Class A retail licensee's licensed premises; and
(2) Cease on or before 9:00 p.m. on any approved sampling day.
(h) Any liquor bottle used for sampling must be clearly and conspicuously labeled "SAMPLE, NOT FOR RESALE". If the seal is broken on any liquor bottle or if any liquor bottle is opened, then that liquor bottle must be removed from the licensed premises immediately following the event.
(i) Violations of this section are subject to the penalties set forth in this article.
(j) To implement the provisions of this section, the commissioner may promulgate emergency rules pursuant to the provisions of section fifteen, article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code or propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(a) “Active retail license” means a current license for a retail outlet that has been open and in continuous operation for a period of not less than twelve months prior to July 1, 2010, or July 1 every ten years thereafter.
(b) “Active retail licensee” means a person who holds an active retail license at the time of the effective date of the amendments to this section during the first extraordinary session of the Legislature in 2009 or that person’s successor or any person who holds an active retail license when it expires at the end of a ten-year period.
(c) “Applicant” means any person who elects to pay a purchase option for a Class A retail license, who bids for a retail license or who seeks the commissioner’s approval to purchase or otherwise acquire a retail license from a retail licensee, in accordance with the provisions of this article.
(d) “Application” means the form prescribed by the commissioner which must be filed with the commissioner by any person bidding for a retail license.
(e) “Board” means the Retail Liquor Licensing Board created by this article.
(f) “Class A retail license” means a retail license permitting the retail sale of liquor at a freestanding liquor retail outlet.
(g) “Class B retail license” means a retail license permitting the sale of liquor at a mixed retail liquor outlet.
(h) “Current retail licensee” means a person who holds a retail license at the time of the effective date of the amendments to this section during the first extraordinary session of the Legislature in 2009 or that person’s successor or any person who holds a retail license when it expires at the end of a ten-year period.
(i) “Designated areas” means one or more geographic areas within a market zone designated as such by the board.
(j) “Executive officer” means the president or other principal officer, partner or member of an applicant or retail licensee, any vice president or other principal officer, partner or member of an applicant or retail licensee in charge of a principal business unit or division, or any other officer, partner or member of an applicant or retail licensee who performs a policy-making function.
(k) “Freestanding liquor retail outlet” means a retail outlet that sells only liquor, beer, nonintoxicating beer and other alcohol-related products, including tobacco related products.
(l) “Liquor” means alcoholic liquor as defined in section five, article one of this chapter and also includes both wine and fortified wines as those terms are defined in section two, article eight of this chapter.
(m) "Liquor sampling event" means an event approved by the commissioner, for a Class A retail licensee to hold a liquor sampling during which only one specific brand of West Virginia product may be sampled per day, per customer, twenty-one years of age or older, as set out in section three-a of this article.
(m) (n) “Market zone” means a geographic area designated as such by the board for the purpose of issuing retail licenses.
(n) (o) “Mixed retail liquor outlet” means a retail outlet that sells liquor, beer, nonintoxicating beer and other alcohol-related products, including tobacco-related products, in addition to convenience and other retail products.
(o) (p) “Person” means an individual, firm, corporation, association, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability company or other entity, regardless of its form, structure or nature.
(p) (q) “Retail license” means a license issued under the provisions of this article permitting the sale of liquor at retail.
(q) (r) “Retail licensee” means the holder of a retail license.
(r) (s) “Retail outlet” means a specific location where liquor may be lawfully sold by a retail licensee under the provisions of this article.
(t) “Sampling day” means any day of the week where retail licensees may sell liquor pursuant to section eighteen, article three-a, chapter sixty of this code, and is approved, in writing, by the commissioner for a Class A retail licensee to conduct a liquor sampling event.
(u) “West Virginia product” means all bourbon, brandy, cognac, cordials, gin, grain alcohol, rye, rum, scotch, tequila, vermouth, vodka, whiskey, apertifs, premixed cocktails, fortified wines, spirit blends, marsala, sake, sherry and any other liquor types and classes as approved by the commissioner and maintained on the ABCA retail liquor product list.
(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow Class A retail licenses (as defined in chapter 60, Article 3A, section 4)or freestanding liquor retail outlets the ability to conduct responsible liquor sampling events on days of the week, other than Sunday. Violators of these sections are subject to civil and criminal penalties imposed by article 3A.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
§60-3A-3a is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.)