Bill would let Ga. distilleries give free samples

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ATLANTA — The Senate has passed a bill that would allow liquor tastings at Georgia distilleries.

The bill passed by a vote of 34-14 after contentious debate over an amendment that would have also allowed wine tastings at package stores.

Supporters of the amendment, which failed by a vote of 17-30, argued the original proposal set up an unfair advantage for distilleries. Proponents of the legislation framed the bill as an economic development issue that could boost tourism.

Under the proposal, the state’s few distilleries would be allowed to conduct free promotional or educational tastings that would be limited to half an ounce per person, per day.

The measure passed overwhelmingly in the House last month. The bill now heads to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk and would take effect upon his signature.

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