Idaho Senate panel votes to ease restrictions on beer, wine sales

jim patrick 2013

Sen. Jim Patrick

The Idaho Senate may be preparing to loosen up restrictions on beer and wine sales in the state.

The Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday forwarded two pieces of legislation to the full chamber for debate.

The first would loosen restrictions on beer sales.  Currently, beer sold by the keg in Idaho has to be sold in 7.5 gallon quantities. The measure brought by Twin Falls Sen. Jim Patrick would allow beer to be sold in smaller kegs of 5-gallon quantities, addressing microbreweries and the fact they produce smaller volumes.

The second bill, pushed by the Idaho Grape Growers and Wine Producers, would allow wine to be sold in Idaho in up to quantities of 15 gallons. Current law allows wine to be sold in a maximum of 1-gallon quantities. For each proposed transaction involving quantities larger than 1 gallon, written permission from the Idaho State Police must be sought.

Federal law leaves it to the states to regulate the quantity of wine sales.

Of Idaho’s six neighboring states, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Wyoming place no restrictions on the quantities of wine sales. While Washington limits wine sales to 18-liter quantities, Utah requires wine to be sold in its government-run liquor stores. Nevada imposes no statewide restrictions, but allows local cities and counties to do so.

Both measures were approved unanimously. (

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