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Monday, February 20, 2012 - 2:26am

Lawmakers Halt Liquor Store Tastings

Last year’s decision to allow communities to approve Sunday liquor sales does not mean all Georgia alcohol rules are loosening up. Lawmakers recently halted a measure permitting wine tasting in liquor stores.

Wine tasting in stores that do not sell liquor is already legal in Georgia. A new measure designed to allow package stores to host tastings gained support from both the state’s restaurant association and the wine industry, who say wine sampling could introduce more Georgians to local wine.

But a subcommittee split on the vote, with the measure’s fate in the hands of Committee chairman Alan Powell (R-Hartville). He cited the unknown insurance impact on small businesses as his reason for striking down the measure.

“Most notably, as the testimony was heard was that the liability insurance on these establishments would probably go high, and in the world of a small businessman today the premiums for liability insurance could put those smaller businesses out of business,” said Rep. Powell.

The subcommittee also voted to table another measure that would streamline the process for opening new liquor stores.

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