03.02.01.13

.13 Samples of Alcoholic Beverages.

A. Except as provided in §E(6) of this regulation, samples of alcoholic beverages provided under this regulation shall be tax paid at the same rate and same manner as required by the Tax-General Article, Title 5, Annotated Code of Maryland.

B. Permitted Samples.

(1) A licensed wholesaler may furnish samples or draw from sample accounts for the following purposes:

(a) To provide a sample of an alcoholic beverage to a licensed retailer;

(b) To donate alcoholic beverages to a bona fide charitable organization, nonprofit organization, or alcoholic beverage trade association;

(c) To provide sample alcoholic beverages to bona fide alcoholic beverage experts; and

(d) To provide alcoholic beverages to officers, officials, and employees of licensed wholesalers for personal and business use.

(2) A supplier may furnish to a licensed wholesaler up to one case of an alcoholic beverage not currently price filed with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau for evaluation purposes and not for distribution or sampling to licensed retailers.

(3) A nonresident winery permit holder may furnish samples or draw from sample accounts to provide a sample of an alcoholic beverage to a licensed retailer.

C. Samples to Licensed Retailers.

(1) A sample of an alcoholic beverage not stocked or sampled by a licensed retailer during the immediately preceding 12 months may be furnished by a wholesaler representative, supplier representative, or nonresident winery representative when:

(a) The sample is not in excess of one 200-milliliter container; or

(b) If the alcoholic beverage is not available in a 200-milliliter container or smaller, then the sample is in one container of the next larger size.

(2) A licensed wholesaler, supplier representative, or nonresident winery representative shall sign out all samples from the licensed wholesaler's inventory or nonresident winery permit holder's inventory in a manner approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau.

(3) A representative of the licensed retailer shall sign a receipt for each sample provided.

(4) A licensed wholesaler, supplier representative, or nonresident winery representative shall account for all samples withdrawn from the licensed wholesaler's inventory or nonresident winery permit holder's inventory within 30 days of sign out by returning to the licensed wholesaler or nonresident winery permit holder:

(a) Completed retailer receipts; or

(b) Unused samples.

(5) A licensed wholesaler, supplier, or nonresident winery permit holder who does not comply with the provisions of this section may be prohibited from drawing future samples for distribution under this regulation.

D. Samples to Bona Fide Charitable Organizations, Nonprofit Organizations, or Alcoholic Beverage Trade Associations.

(1) A licensed wholesaler may donate sample alcoholic beverages for use at a bona fide event or function if a temporary or permanent retail license has not been issued or is not required for the event or function.

(2) Alcoholic beverages supplied may not exceed what is reasonably expected to be used for the specific event or function.

(3) An officer or official of the charitable organization, nonprofit organization, or alcoholic beverage trade association shall submit a written request to the licensed wholesaler for the product setting forth the particulars of the event and certifying compliance with §D(1) of this regulation.

(4) A representative of the charitable organization, nonprofit organization, or alcoholic beverage trade association shall sign a receipt for all sample alcoholic beverages received.

E. Samples to Alcoholic Beverage Experts.

(1) A licensed wholesaler may provide samples to unlicensed individuals who are recognized for their contributions as alcoholic beverage writers in trade publications, newspapers, magazines, and other publications.

(2) Before an individual may qualify as an expert under this section, the individual shall submit credentials to, and be approved by, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau.

(3) Samples provided by a licensed wholesaler to an expert are for the express purposes of evaluation and analysis and are not for general distribution or consumption. Any samples received and not used for this purpose shall be destroyed.

(4) A licensed wholesaler may directly provide samples to experts under the following conditions:

(a) The expert signs a receipt for the product; and

(b) Not more than three bottles of each brand is provided.

(5) An expert may pick up samples at the premises of the licensed wholesaler, or the licensed wholesaler may deliver them to another location, including a licensed retail premises, for subsequent pickup if proper records are maintained.

(6) Instead of receiving tax paid samples through a licensed wholesaler, an alcoholic beverage expert may receive tax-free products from legitimate out-of-State sources if the alcoholic beverage expert has applied for, and received from the Comptroller, a non-beverage permit.

(7) Samples provided under this section need not originate from a licensed nonresident dealer, and need not be price filed under Regulation .05 of this chapter.

F. Samples to Officers, Officials, and Employees.

(1) An individual wholesale licensee may authorize bona fide company officers, officials, and employees to draw samples for personal and business use and not for sale.

(2) The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau may limit the number of samples drawn under this section if the samples are believed to be excessive or improperly used.

G. The Comptroller may require a written request for samples of beer, wine, or distilled spirits before delivery under this regulation.

H. Records and Reports.

(1) A summary of samples of beer, wine, and distilled spirits distributed during the previous month shall be filed on forms provided by the Comptroller and submitted with the monthly alcoholic beverage tax return.

(2) A licensed wholesaler or nonresident winery permit holder shall maintain accurate records to support monthly sample reports which shall be available for inspection.