- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin grocery shoppers may soon be able to sample mini-shots of hard liquor.

The Assembly’s government operations committee unanimously approved a bipartisan bill Tuesday that would allow retailers with liquor licenses to provide small shots of booze to their customers. The measure would allow shoppers to sample one half-ounce of hard alcohol, the equivalent of one-third a shot.

Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, said he co-authored the bill to level the playing field for distilleries and other liquor producers as they compete with breweries and winemakers, which can offer samples.

“We’re able to sample beer and wine in the state, we should be able to sample liquor as long as it’s done safely,” Kleefisch said.

His co-author, Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, said two distilleries in her district would benefit from sampling their products in grocery stores. She said she hopes the bill will progress in the Republican-dominated Assembly. Earlier bills failed in 2012 and 2014.

“I just want to make this bill a reality,” Zamarripa said. “I know we need to work closely with Republicans to push it through and get it to the governor.”

Kleefisch says he anticipates a unanimous vote in that chamber later this week. He said the small volume of alcohol would not be enough to cause detrimental effects.

A similar bill is under consideration in the Senate.

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Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bydanaferguson .

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