Memphis grocery stores would be allowed to host free beer tastings under a proposed ordinance being considered by the Memphis City Council.
The proposal, endorsed this week by a committee, would allow on-site beer tastings at grocery stores and other retailers with city-issued licenses to sell beer for off-premise consumption. The tastings would be allowed for “sales, education and promotional purposes.”
The proposal was sparked after a local Whole Foods store could not host a Yazoo Brewing Company beer tasting, according to council officials.
Memphis City Councilman Shea Flinn is sponsoring the measure.
The state legislature recently passed a law allowing Tennessee liquor stores to hold tastings, and “Memphis retailers selling beer for off-premise consumption should enjoy the same privilege,” Flinn’s proposal says.
It also notes that “craft, locally manufactured, and specialty beers have become extremely popular and sales of these products take over a larger share of the market each year; holders of licenses to sell beer for off-premise consumption would like to be able to conduct product tastings in their stores, providing free, small samples of products sold to customers for promotional and educational purposes, which is not permitted under the current Code of Ordinances.”
The ordinance must be approved on three readings, with the first set for Sept. 18. The final vote could happen as soon as Oct. 16.
This measure follows other changes in local beer laws, including the elimination of the requirement to sell food at breweries with tasting rooms as well as zoning changes that make it easier to open a brewery in the Memphis area.