Free beer samples are legal, says The Norwegian Directorate of Health

Shop beer at the storeShop beer at the store.Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

The Norwegian Directorate of Health has no objections to employees in shops, bars, and nightclubs receiving free beer testers – as long as it is the correct people who taste it.

This according to an exchange of letters with the Brewery and Beverage Association, which experiences that the expectation of free tests is high.

In an email to the Norwegian Directorate of Health, the association describes a culture in several grocery stores and some nightclubs where it has become common to expect to receive boxes or trays of beer for free. They want to taste the goods before they consider purchasing them.

– A couple of breweries have reacted to this, and will not give away anything for free, but they are then informed that it is common practice, writes the Brewery Association and questions whether this is a legal practice.

Not permissible for everyone
The short answer from the Norwegian Directorate of Health is that it is legal to give beer away for testing without payment.

But not to the extent described by the brewery association. Only employees who have a “legitimate interest” in sampling new products can receive a free beer.

– For a sales license, this will, for example, be limited to the board, deputy, and purchasing manager. For a bar, in addition, the sommelier, butler, and bartender are considered to have a legitimate interest in receiving samples, while other employees at the bar, accountant, doorman, cleaning staff, etc. do not usually fall within this circle, the directorate writes in his answer to the Brewers’ Association.

Not entire boxes
The Norwegian Directorate of Health also emphasizes that the volume of the samples must be limited.

– The Norwegian Directorate of Health considers that whole crates or trays for one point of sale or service are not considered a reasonable quantity of a sample of goods when there are usually only 2–5 people who have a legitimate interest in evaluating the products. Furthermore, it is up to the supplier/manufacturer to assess whether they want to distribute such samples for free.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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