Wine in glassState officials have updated the rules so Iowa wineries, breweries and distilleries know just how much they can legally give customers as samples in their tasting rooms.

“It’s all based on alcohol content or potency,” says Robert Bailey, a spokesman for the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.

Licensed wineries, distilleries and breweries in Iowa have been allowed to offer samples of their wares to customers, but Bailey says the old rules that were written in the 1990s were too vague and didn’t list the size of the sample that was allowed.

“What we wanted to do was the real amounts that you can have for a tasting of various forms of alcohol such as liquor or beer or wine,” Bailey says.

The old rules were two sentences long. The new rules not only spell out how much alcohol a customer can be served as a sample, the rules specify where tastings may be conducted. The practice of “trade spending” is covered in these new rules, too.

“It’s allowed for an industry representative — a broker or a distributor — to go into a retail establishment — a restaurant or a bar — and buy a round for everyone in the place,” Bailey says.

The rules call for those industry reps to buy the product from the bar or restaurant they’re in, plus there’s a one-round limit. These new rules for marketing alcoholic products in Iowa went into effect December 30.