Ohio Beer Counsel
Information and Commentary on the Issues Facing Ohio's Craft Beer Community, Breweries and Distilleries - Brewed by the Craft Beer Lawyers of Bruns, Connell, Vollmar & Armstrong's Brewery & Distillery Practice Group
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"We Talking About Sampling"

Ohio breweries not only have the option to serve their brews from the source, they may conduct "consumer product instruction" or provide "sample servings" of their product on-premise of a retail permit holder.  Even better news - this can be accomplished without the need of an additional permit from the State of Ohio.  The execution of these events, like most things involving Ohio's liquor laws, have nuances.  In the spirit of Allen Iverson, let's talk about sampling!

Consumer Product Instruction

Ohio regulations define this as a pre-scheduled, organized event at a retail permit premises licensed for on-premise consumption, during which a brewery (or its registered solicitor) provides the public with one or more beers for the purpose of providing consumer instruction on the quality and characteristics of the beer provided.  This must occur during normal business hours and cannot exceed 2 hours in length.  The following is required:

  1. The beer must be registered for sale in Ohio.
  2. The beer must be one the retail permit holder is authorized to sell for on-premise consumption.
  3. The beer must have been purchased by the retail permit holder lawfully.
  4. The beer must be one the retail permit holder has in stock.
  5. The brewery must purchase the beer for the event from the retail permit holder at ordinary retail price.
  6. The consumer may not receive more than two 12 oz. servings.
  7. The brewery may not identify the retail permit premises in any off-premise advertising.
  8. The brewery may not compensate or agree to compensate the retail permit holder
  9. The retail permit holder may not accept or agree to accept compensation. 

Sample Serving

    Sometimes referred to as "Trade Spending" or "Bar Spending," Ohio regulations define this as beer provided by a brewery (or its registered solicitor) to one or more consumers, in a retail permit premises licensed for on-premise consumption, when not provided for "Consumer Product Instruction."  There is no requirement it occur during business hours and no time-limit is imposed.  The following is required:

    1. Cannot be contingent upon the purchase of any other alcoholic beverage.
    2. 1-5 above. 
    3. The consumer receives no more than two 12 oz. servings in a 24-hour period. 

    No matter which event, both the brewery and the retail permit holder are responsible for any violations of Ohio liquor laws and regulations.   

    Contact OBC with questions.