Idahoans will soon have an opportunity to sample distilled spirits at Idaho distilleries under new legislation signed on March 26, 2014 by Governor Butch Otter.
Senate Bill 1335 passed through the Idaho legislature on March 13 and goes into effect July 1, 2014. This bill allows distilleries in Idaho to provide samples of their products at their manufacturing facilities with specific rules for sampling size and tasting frequency. There will be no charge for these samples.
Increased revenue for the state and agriculture suppliers as well as increased employment opportunities for Idaho citizens were cited among the positive outcomes of allowing tasting during distillery tours. Previously, visitors to Idaho distilleries could only view the distilling process.
“This is a great opportunity for the distilleries in Idaho,” says Marjie Lowe, one of the founders of 8 Feathers Distillery in Boise. She along with business partner, Sandee Price, lobbied on behalf of the distillers in this state to help get this bill passed. “We see our distillery as a destination. Now when people come to our distillery for a tour, they can try our product and make an informed purchase decision.” Lowe said.
The bill met very little resistance on either side of the legislature – passing the Senate with a vote of 29-5-1 and the House of Representative with a vote of 58-9-3.
The distillery movement is on the rise across the country and Idaho is no different. There are currently 8 distilleries in Idaho and 3 more have expressed their intent to open in the next year.