(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;
(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 from the inventory of the licensee, and 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 civil and criminal penalties set forth in sections twenty-four, twenty-five- a, twenty-six and twenty-seven of 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.