You’ll soon be able to sip on a sample of craft beer in the aisles of Memphis grocery stores, thanks to a law passed on Tuesday.
The Memphis City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that allows for limited beer tastings at grocery stores and other retailers with city-issued licenses to sell beer for off-premise consumption. The tastings will be allowed for “promotional and educational purposes.”
“This is a just an ordinance that allows the growing industry of microbrews and people to enjoy a tasting and sample a product. It’s based on a law that is in effect in Nashville … and I think it goes to the public good,” said councilman Shea Flinn, sponsor of the ordinance.
New language added to the law in response to concerns about a lack of specifics calls for the Memphis Alcohol Commission to “promulgate rules for conducting beer tastings.”
“It’s just making sure that we weren’t opening a loophole that would allow for convenience stores … to become ‘beer halls,’ for lack of a better word,” Flinn said. “We think we’ve got the appropriate safeguards and we think we have the appropriate flexibility, giving the Alcohol Commission the ability to create rules for this effect to deal with any issues that might present themselves, although they’re not expected.”
The proposal was sparked after a local Whole Foods store could not host a Yazoo Brewing Company beer tasting. It follows other recent 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.