- Associated Press - Saturday, April 18, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah brandy distillery that wants to sell sample sizes of its product plans to ask state officials to once again allow the sale of mini bottles of liquor.

The Hive Winery in Layton plans to roll out its first product this year. Owner Jay Yahne said allowing customers to sample the cherry flavored brandy will help sales.

“People don’t want to risk $50 or $100 on a bottle of something they’ve never tried,” Yahne said.

State law bans distilleries from giving away free samples but Yahne says if customers can purchase a small size bottle they may be more likely to come back and buy a full bottle.

Utah restaurants once used the small bottles to mix drinks, but lawmakers banned bottles smaller than 200 milliliters more than two decades ago because it unintentionally left drinkers with strong drinks.

Representatives of local restaurants, bars and taverns who sit on the state liquor advisory committee were supportive of the idea this week, according to The Salt Lake Tribune (http://bit.ly/1NSvrrt ).

Committee member Julie Wilson of Deer Valley Resort said Utah’s nine other distilleries would likely make similar requests if Hive’s is approved.

The committee offers input to the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Nina McDermott with the DABC said state law gives the department’s governing commission the authority to make exceptions to the mini-bottle ban.

It has already made two exceptions, allowing airlines to sell mini-bottles on flights and hotels to offer them as part of room service.

Yahne said the commission should make a mini-bottle exception for Utah distilleries so they too can try to win over customers with sample sizes.

State law does allow wineries and breweries to offer samples at their facilities, but state lawmakers have rejected attempts over the years to allow similar sampling for liquor distilleries.

Yahne told The Associated Press that he’s working with the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to find out when his request will go before the governing commission.

The commission’s next meeting is April 28, but Yahne said he didn’t know if the request would be ready in time.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

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