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Governor signs tasting bill
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A bill that allows tasting at distilleries in Georgia has been signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal.

The measure, which cleared the Georgia General Assembly earlier this year, allows visitors to sample up to a half ounce of spirits per person, per day when touring a distillery.

“I am very glad that it passed,” said master distiller Dwight Bearden, who will oversee operations at the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery. “It’s just one step farther toward when people can taste our product. It will definitely help us.”

Deal signed the bill Thursday. Bearden said the approval of tastings could help drive economic development.

The distillery has been in the works since last year. Owner Cheryl Wood is leasing an area inside the Dawsonville Municipal Complex, which is also home to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

A gift shop with moonshine collectibles is open at select hours at the site. Wood and Bearden are waiting on state inspectors before officially opening.

Bearden has previously said the inspection "will be at their discretion, when they have time to come out."

"When we get approval from the state and the federal and the fire marshal signs off, we should be ready to go,” he said.

Initially, Bearden said he plans to make a family recipe of corn liquor and in summer months likely will also offer brandy.

Before the bill passed, Georgia was one of just seven states that prohibited distilled spirits tastings at on- or off-site establishments.

There are currently distilleries operating in Richland, Milledgeville and Americus.