Baton Rouge might open the door for more beer, wine and spirits tastings at retail locations across the city, as East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council members soon will consider changing how the city regulates them.
Two items going before the Metro Council in the next couple weeks could change how alcohol is controlled.
The first is focused on tastings and would allow retail locations to buy licenses to hold tastings for wine, beer and liquor. Currently, most retail locations are not allowed to let customers sample wine unless they have a special event permit, according to Councilman Buddy Amoroso.
The second change would give microbreweries a more up-to-date definition in city ordinances, now that the craft beer trend has taken off in the Baton Rouge area.
Amoroso is sponsoring the sampling ordinance update and is co-sponsoring the microbrewery change. He said one of the main goals is bringing Baton Rouge’s rules up to date with state alcohol regulations.
“We’re making it easier for these retailers to be able to have sampling, but there would still be controls in place,” Amoroso said.
Sampling licenses would cost $120 a year, or retailers could purchase a one-time event permit for $60.
The concept of wine tasting in Baton Rouge is still relatively new, as Amoroso said they have been allowed since about a decade ago.
The ordinance relating to microbreweries also would allow microbrewers and microdistillers to obtain licenses specifically geared toward their operations. Amoroso said the ordinances in effect were written before the concept of microbreweries existed, and current laws are aimed at larger beer manufacturers.
“It’s really to kind of help the craft beer emerging industry,” Amoroso said.
The ordinances should be introduced to the Metro Council on Sept. 23, and the council is expected to vote on them in October.