The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (“OLCC”) is initiating rulemaking that would amend licensing requirements for outdoor areas and distilled liquor tasting.

Outdoor Areas
The OLCC has proposed two new rules to address the licensing qualifications and operating requirements for “exclusively outdoor areas,” or areas that do not abut a licensed building. The rule would apply to the areas around food carts, for example. The proposed measures, for the most part, implement best management practices the OLCC currently requires of food cart licensees. The rule would require an applicant to demonstrate that the outdoor area (1) allows the OLCC to legally access it, (2) qualifies for a Number III minor posting, (3) has defined physical boundaries, and (4) has a designated area for alcohol consumption. With respect to operations, the rule would prohibit a patron from having more than two containers at a time or bringing alcohol into, or removing alcohol from, the designated alcohol consumption area. Alcohol service and amplified entertainment would also not be allowed after 10 pm.

Food cart licensees (and prospective licensees) most likely will want to ensure that the hours of service meet business needs and, notwithstanding the prohibition of removing alcohol from designated consumption areas, that a patron can remove beer or wine from the premises if it is in a packaged container or growler. The OLCC advisory committee meeting is scheduled for December 10, 2013 and a rulemaking hearing likely will be scheduled in February 2014. More information to follow.

Distilled Liquor Tastings
Effective January 1, 2014, Oregon House Bill 3435 amends ORS 471.230 to allow a distillery licensee to conduct tastings at its annually licensed premises as well as up to five other premises it owns or leases. The OLCC is in the process of amending OAR 845-005-0431 to reflect this new privilege. A licensee will need to provide the OLCC with written proof of its “exclusive use and possession” of the other locations.