Calif. drinking age lowered under 'sip and spit' law

Drinking

Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Russian River Brewing Company customer takes a sip of the newly released Pliny the Younger triple IPA beer on February 7, 2014 in Santa Rosa, California.

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by MADISON MILLS

USA TODAY

Posted on July 28, 2014 at 7:55 AM

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Monday a bill that changes the drinking age…or at least, the tasting age.

The law allows students that are at least 18 years of age to taste wine and beer, as long as it is part of either a wine-making or beer-brewing course and the students spit out the alcohol after tasting it.

As the law stood before this new addition, students between ages 18 and 20 caught consuming or purchasing alcohol and public were charged with a misdemeanor. It was also illegal to provide alcohol to someone underage…meaning professors of wine-making courses were breaking the law if they let students try wine.

The law became known as the"sip and spit" bill as it was being discussed by legislators. The law gained attention as the popularity of these courses grew on college campuses across California. Professors felt students needed a means of tasting the products they were learning to make.

Similar laws that allow students to taste libations have passed in 12 other states.

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