TPP-14: Standards For Approval Of Test Marketing; Tastings And Product Sampling
To set the policy of the Illinois Liquor Control
Commission and establish the procedures whereby the test marketing,
tasting and product sampling of alcoholic liquor products may be
It is the policy of this Commission that test
marketing, tasting and product sampling of products shall be
permitted, subject to the following procedures.
Section 100.280 Giving Away of Alcoholic Liquors
- No licensee, individual, partnership or
corporation shall give away any alcoholic liquor for commercial
purposes or in connection with the sale of non‑alcoholic products or to
promote the sale of non‑alcoholic products.
- No licensee, individual, partnership, or
corporation shall advertise or promote in any way, whether on or
off-licensed premises, any of the practices prohibited under subsection
(a) above. This includes, but is not limited to, advertisements
using the words “free” or “complimentary” with alcoholic liquor.
- Subsection (a) above shall not apply to test marketing or tasting.
(Source: Amended at 21 Ill. Reg. 5542, effective May 1, 1997)
Section 100.10 Definitions
The following words or phrases are defined as follows:
“Tasting” means a supervised presentation of
alcoholic products to the public at an off-premise licensed retailer
for the purpose of disseminating product information and education,
with consumption of alcoholic products being an incidental part
thereof. Only products registered with the Commission may be tasted in
the following amounts: Distilled Spirits 1/4 oz., Wine 1 oz., and
Beer 2 oz.; notice of the tasting may be given. Tasting must be done
by a licensee and/or registered tasting representative in accordance
with Section 100.40.
“Test Marketing” means to test new products or products unfamiliar to the sampler through a marketing firm or the like.
Section 100.40 Registration of Tasting Representatives
- Any non-licensee wishing to conduct a tasting as
defined in Section 100.10 must register with the Commission. A
registered tasting representative acts as the agent of the licensee.
- Registration is fulfilled by submitting a form
including the name of the person, address, licensee representing, if
applicable, and any other questions deemed appropriate and necessary,
and a $100.00 administrative fee payable annually to the Commission.
- The registration identification, or a copy thereof, must be available for inspection during any tasting.
- Any applicant must meet all eligibility requirements as stated in 235 ILCS 5/6-2.
(Source: Amended at 23 Ill. Reg. 3787, effective March 15, 1999)
5/6-31. Product Sampling.
(a) Retailer, distributor, importing distributor,
manufacturer and nonresident dealer licensees may conduct product
sampling for consumption at a licensed retail location. Up to 3
samples, consisting of no more than (i) 1/4 ounce of distilled
spirits, (ii) one ounce of wine, or (iii) 2 ounces of beer may be
served to a consumer in one day.(Source: P.A. 90-432, eff. 1/1/98; 90-626,eff. 1-1-99)
From the general prohibition against the giving away
of alcoholic liquors, it is the Commission’s position that “test
marketing” and tasting of products, including those of an alcoholic
nature, are valuable research tools in the development, production and
ultimate marketing of products. With the creation of the “tasting”
it became apparent that there were individuals and companies which
were providing services to the liquor industry who were dispensing
alcoholic beverages to the public without being licensed themselves,
or being direct employees or agents of licensees. It was to deal
with this situation that the “Tasting Representative” was created.
Please note that the regulatory “sampling” has been
removed from this trade practice policy. With the passage of P.A.
90-432, and the creation of the statutory “product sampling” the
“sampling” activities authorized by rule were made moot. The
“sampling” section of Regulation 100.10 was thereafter repealed.
There is both statutory and regulatory authority for the commercial
consumption of alcohol for which payment by the consumer has not been
made. The major distinction between these types of consumption is the
nature of the premises upon which the activity may be conducted: the
“tasting” may be conducted upon “off-premises” licensed retail
premises, while the “product sampling” may be conducted upon any retail
From the general prohibition against the giving
away of alcoholic liquors for commercial purposes, it is the
Commission's position that product sampling and tasting of alcoholic
liquor products are valuable research tools in the marketing of
products and the creation of brand loyalty. This Commission will grant
approval to the test marketing of alcoholic products, on a
case-by-case basis, only upon written request, stating with specificity
the parameters of the testing, and to include at a minimum the
Test marketing requirements:
Manufacturers, Distributors and Importing Distributors:
- The name and address of the marketing firm conducting the test marketing.
- The location where the testing will be conducted.
- The number of participants involved.
- Representation that the age of the participants is 21 years of age or older.
- The duration of the test.
- The total amount of liquor involved in the testing and the total amount to be given each participant.
Tasting and Product Sampling requirements are simply
set forth in the statute and rules. An important point to remember is
that both the rules tasting and the statutory product sampling must be
performed upon licensed retail liquor premises. No tasting or product
sampling can legally be conducted on a non-licensed premises, i.e.,
“in-home tastings,” or product samplings at a flower shop.
A manufacturer, distributor and importing distributor
may furnish, free of charge to the retail liquor licensee, cups and
napkins in conjunction with tastings, test marketings and product
If the retailer has previously purchased the product
to be tasted or tested, the manufacturer, distributor or importing
distributor may pay for such product at the retailer’s original cost.
If the manufacturer, distributor or importing distributor supplies the
product, the product remaining after the tasting or testing must be
returned to the manufacturer, distributor or importing distributor
(variations from these provisions will be considered consignment sales
pursuant to Federal Regulations and the “Of Value” provisions of 235