03.02.05.05

.05 Tastings.

A. Except as provided in this chapter or Article 2B, Annotated Code of Maryland, a supplier or licensed wholesaler may not sponsor or participate in an alcoholic beverage tasting on licensed retail premises.

B. An alcoholic beverage tasting may be given by a supplier or licensed wholesaler only to bona fide members and guests of a:

(1) Charitable organization;

(2) Nonprofit group or association;

(3) Trade association; or

(4) Group of retailers by invitation.

C. An alcoholic beverage tasting may be held only:

(1) On the licensed premises of a licensed wholesaler or supplier;

(2) On nonlicensed premises; or

(3) In a private room, not open to the public, which is located on licensed retail premises.

D. Alcoholic beverages provided for a tasting shall be obtained through the licensed wholesaler's sample account and shown on the wholesaler's monthly tax return if held on:

(1) The premises of a licensed wholesaler or supplier; or

(2) Nonlicensed premises.

E. A tasting may be held on licensed retail premises only if:

(1) The product is provided by the licensed retailer;

(2) Representatives of wine and distilled spirits suppliers or licensed wholesalers have a valid solicitor's permit for:

(a) Guest speakers,

(b) Experts, or

(c) Anyone operating under contractual or other agreements with the supplier or licensed wholesaler; and

(3) Details on the proposed tasting are submitted to the Bureau as provided by Regulation .12 of this chapter.

F. "Winemaker" dinners or similar dinners including beer or distilled spirits are permitted on a limited basis when held on licensed retailer's premises and involving participation of a brand owner's, supplier's, or licensed wholesaler's representative pursuant to Regulation .10 of this chapter.

G. Consumer Tastings. A consumer tasting may be held:

(1) For the purpose of market survey or analysis:

(a) On nonlicensed premises,

(b) By an independent research agency, and

(c) If the Bureau has advance notice and has given approval 14 days before conducting the survey;

(2) By a supplier or licensed wholesaler for nonalcoholic beverage products on licensed retail premises, if the tasting is:

(a) Spontaneous, and

(b) Not announced in advance to the licensed retailer or public at large.

H. Tastings sponsored by a supplier or licensed wholesaler may not be designed or used as an inducement to a licensed retailer.

I. A supplier and licensed wholesaler who conduct tastings shall retain a file available for inspection on each event for 2 years. The file shall contain:

(1) Full particulars of each tasting; and

(2) A list of all persons who attended.