YAKIMA, Wash. — A new law allowing retailers to conduct liquor tastings went into effect Sunday.

The law allows retailers to provide half-ounce samples of hard liquors, with a maximum sample of 11/2 ounces.

Before liquor privatization went into effect last year, a pilot program was established for liquor sampling in state-run and contract liquor stores.

The new law — similar to one that allowed for beer and wine tastings a few years ago — now allows all eligible private retailers to do the same.

Local liquor stores believe the new law will boost business.

The Union Gap Liquor Store, for example, will host a tasting for Yakima’s Swede Hill Distilling from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday.

Owner Craig Paddock had this tasting with Swede Hill Distilling planned for several months and was just waiting for the law to go into effect.

He believes the new law will provide much-needed exposure for emerging distilleries not as well-known as the big national and international brands.

“It puts a face on the product,” Paddock said.

Paddock said he plans to do tastings as suppliers are available to conduct them and answer customer questions.

In Selah, Liquor and More’s Kristen Clark plans to launch a designated area for providing beer, wine and liquor tastings. She said she wants to make sure she complies with state regulations before scheduling tastings at her store at 316 S. First St., Suite 8.

Like Paddock, she believes the tastings are an opportunity to support smaller distilleries in the state.

“I appreciate people keeping it local and keeping it small” by shopping at locally owned liquor stores, she said. “I want to help do that by promoting (Washington-made) product.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the address of Liquor and More in Selah.