I. GENERAL INFORMATION
1. Who can enforce the liquor and tobacco laws of
ANSWER: All commissioned officers of county sheriff and
municipal police departments; liquor and tobacco control agents of the Liquor
Control Board and commissioned members of the Washington State Patrol.
2. May liquor and tobacco control agents, police
officers, sheriff's deputies and state troopers inspect a licensed business?
ANSWER: Yes. These agents and officers have the
right to inspect all licensed liquor and tobacco business locations, places where a
banquet permit has been issued and vehicles used in connection with a licensed business.
3. May liquor agents take samples of liquor from
licensees for analysis?
ANSWER: Yes. The agent is required to provide a receipt for
4. Do liquor and tobacco control agents have a
legal right to examine business records and accounting documents of a licensed business?
5. What is Mandatory Alcohol Server Training?
ANSWER: Effective January 1, 1997 the legislature
requires that everyone who sells or serves alcohol in an on-premise
establishment must have either a class 12 managers and bartenders permit or a class
13 servers permit. Before a permit is issued, the employee must attend alcohol server
training from a Board approved trainer.
6. Does a person have to be a U.S. Citizen to
qualify for a liquor license?
7. Must a husband and wife both be qualified for a
license if only one will be named on the license?
II. QUESTIONS PERTAINING TO LIQUOR
8. What is the legal age for a person to buy,
possess or consume alcoholic beverages?
ANSWER: 21 years of age.
9. If I'm under 21 and in the military, can I drink
alcohol off base?
10. What are the legal hours of sale or consumption
by a licensed business?
ANSWER: 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., seven days a week.
EXCEPTION: When turning back the clock at the end of
Daylight Savings Time, an extra hour is added making 2:00 a.m. Pacific Standard time the
11. Can an intoxicated person remain in a licensed
premises (tavern, grocery store, restaurant that sells beer, wine or spirits)?
ANSWER: Yes. The person cannot, however, be served any
alcohol, or be allowed to consume any alcohol, or possess any alcoholic
12. Is there any instance where an intoxicated
person can legally be sold alcohol, consume alcohol, or posses alcohol on a licensed
13. Can a person who is showing obvious signs of
intoxication, but is not driving, be sold liquor?
ANSWER: No. It is illegal to sell liquor to or allow an
apparently intoxicated person to consume or possess liquor under all circumstances.
14. Is a patron required to have valid I.D. on
their person at all times they are on a licensed premises?
ANSWER: No. However, a youthful appearing person is
required to provide I.D. when requested by either the licensee, their employees, police
officers or agents of the Liquor Control Board.
15. Must a person be 21 years old to serve liquor
in a tavern or cocktail lounge?
16. Can an employee 18, 19 or 20 years old enter a
cocktail lounge to pick up drink orders to be served in the restaurant portion of the
ANSWER: Yes. 18, 19, and 20 year old employees are allowed
access to the lounge to provide this service and for purposes of picking up and delivering
glasses and other bar maintenance responsibilities.
17. Under what conditions should a licensee retain
altered or fraudulent I.D.?
ANSWER: The Liquor Control Board does not want any licensee
or licensee's employee to risk a confrontation or physical injury over improper I.D. You
may advise the person presenting the I.D. that you will be turning it over to the liquor
and tobacco control agent or a local law enforcement agency.
However, if there is any chance of confrontation, the
identification should be immediately returned and the subject asked to leave the premises.
Notify the police if there are further problems.
18. What is the purpose of using Licensee
ANSWER: The licensee certification card, when properly
used, provides protection by law to the licensee against criminal charges and civil suit.
Be sure you fully understand the proper use of these cards by discussing them with your
liquor and tobacco control agent.
19. Where can I get Licensee Certification cards?
ANSWER: The cards are provided at no cost at your local
liquor store or agency.
20. Can liquor be sold on election day?
21. Is a liquor licensee responsible if their
employees sell alcohol to someone under 21 years of age?
ANSWER: Yes. The holder of a liquor license is responsible
for the acts of their employees.
22. Am I responsible for fights that happen in my
ANSWER: Yes. Call the police or sheriff if customers become
23. How can I get rid of someone who is causing
ANSWER: Call the police or sheriff and sign a complaint.
24. Am I responsible for what happens in my parking
lot, or other areas outside of my business within my control, or in the alley behind my
ANSWER: Yes. A liquor licensee is responsible for the
licensed business and the area immediately around it. A licensee cannot allow any
disorderly conduct in the licensed business or adjacent property which is owned or leased
by the licensee.
25. Is suggestive, lewd or obscene conduct
permitted in a liquor licensed business?
ANSWER: No. The rules are very specific on what can or
cannot be allowed. Check with your local liquor and tobacco control agent for a
detailed explanation of these rules.
26. May I give away beer, wine and spirituous
ANSWER: Sometimes, yes. You may give away a drink as a
compensation for poor service, or to help a customer celebrate their birthday,
anniversary, special occasion, etc.
You may not give away liquor as a normal business or
promotional activity. You may not advertise free or complimentary liquor.
27. May I sell hats, T-shirts, etc., with liquor
logos on them?
ANSWER: Yes, provided you, the retailer, have purchased
them and have the invoices to prove it.
28. Who can I, as a retailer, purchase beer and
ANSWER: You may only purchase beer and wine from authorized
distributors, Washington breweries and/or wineries, or the Board. You may NOT purchase
liquor from another retail licensee. You may NOT bring any liquor in from out of state.
29. Can I sell homemade beer and wine?
30. How long do I need to keep my business records
for inspection or review?
ANSWER: Two years for the Liquor Control Board. Five years
for the Department of Revenue.
31. Can I change my trade name at any time?
ANSWER: Yes. However, prior to changing your business trade
name, you must submit an application and fee.
32. When a liquor licensed business changes owners,
does the new licensee carry the record of the previous owner?
ANSWER: No. You start with a clean slate.
33. Can I make alterations to my restaurant?
ANSWER: Yes, but some changes require prior Board approval by submitting a form provided by the Board's licensing and regulation division:
- Extending the location of alcohol service, such as a beer garden or patio/deck service (areas must be enclosed with a barrier a minimum of forty-two inches in height).
- Installing a pass-through window for walk-up customers.
- Any alteration that affects the size of a premises' customer service area.
The licensing and regulation division will respond to the request for alteration within five business days.
34. Is there any way that people can buy or drink
alcoholic beverages at my business during a period of suspension?
ANSWER: No! If your liquor license
is suspended, you may not sell, serve or allow consumption of alcohol at your business.
You may also not accept delivery of alcohol during a suspension period. A banquet permit
event may not be held at the business during the time of suspension.
35. Am I required to display my liquor license?
ANSWER: Yes. It must be on display for public viewing.
36. Does the Liquor Control Board regulate obscene
pictures, literature or advertising at a liquor licensed business?
ANSWER: Yes. Lewd or obscene pictures are prohibited. The
rule is quite specific. Ask your local liquor and tobacco control agent to
review it with you if you have any questions about specific material.
37. Can I, as a retailer, sell liquor on credit?
ANSWER: Yes. Retail liquor licensees may sell liquor either
by cash, check, credit card or your own credit account.
38. What is the minimum lighting requirement for
businesses that sell liquor for consumption on site?
ANSWER: Lighting must be sufficient to read 8 point type
(the size of type on a drivers license).
39. Do I
need Board permission to have entertainment?
- After 10 p.m., if a licensee wishes to continue or to start live music in the dining area, the licensee must either
The licensee must notify the Board of which option they are choosing.
- restrict persons under 21 years of age from the dining area, or
- end the sale and service of liquor in the dining area.
- Licensees may also choose to restrict minors in the dining area earlier than 10 p.m. (with prior notice to the Board).
- Liquor licensees must notify their local enforcement office in writing at least forty-eight hours before conducting the following activities:
- Male/female dance reviews, subject to the provisions of WAC 314-16-125;
- Live boxing or wrestling;
- Contests or games where patrons are part of the entertainment; and
- Hours of operation in between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. for licensees that sell liquor for on-premises consumption.
40. Can persons who are under 21 years of age play
in the band or work in a tavern or cocktail lounge?
ANSWER: Yes. A professional minor musician (someone who
plays a musical instrument or is a vocalist), sound and/or lighting technician, or disc
jockey who is between 18 years of age and 20 years of age may perform in a retail liquor
NOTE: This does NOT include dancers, magicians,
41. Are there any exceptions to persons under 21
years old being in a tavern or cocktail lounge?
ANSWER: Yes. The exceptions are as follows:
1) A person who performs janitorial services who is 18
years old or more may perform those services in a tavern or cocktail lounge when it is
2) a person who is 18 years old or more who repairs
amusement games may do so in a tavern or cocktail lounge, and
3) law enforcement officers and fire fighters who are 18
years of age or more may enter a tavern or cocktail lounge to perform official duties.
(Note: Security personnel employed by the licensee must be 21 or older.)
42. Where can a minor musician perform?
ANSWER: On the stage or bandstand, or as a strolling
43. Can a musician 18 to 20 years old be seated at
the bar or at a table in a cocktail lounge or tavern with patrons during his/her break?
44. Can an employee or licensee drink alcoholic
beverages while working?
45. Can cashiers, bus boys/girls, waiters, etc.,
drink alcohol beverages while working?
III. QUESTIONS PERTAINING TO BANQUET PERMITS
46. Can a banquet permit function be held on a
liquor licensed premises?
ANSWER: Yes. However, the liquor belonging to the retail
licensee cannot be served within the banquet permit area, nor can banquet permit liquor
leave the area designated by the banquet permit.
47. Can a person holding a banquet permit function
at a licensed premises allow their underage children to consume liquor?
ANSWER: No, not on a liquor licensed premises or in
a public place.
48. Can a banquet permit holder purchase liquor at
wholesale or discount?
ANSWER: No. All liquor must be purchased at retail.
49. What are the hours a banquet permit authorizes
the consumption of liquor?
ANSWER: The same as state law pertaining to licensed
business applies - 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
50. Can banquet permit functions be open to the
ANSWER: No. Private or closed functions only.
51. Is a licensee responsible for the conduct of a
banquet permit function on the licensed premises?
ANSWER: The licensee is required to maintain control of the
licensed premises at all times.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR
RESTAURANT - SPIRITS, BEER AND WINE LICENSE
RESTAURANT - BEER AND WINE LICENSE
52. Can a restaurant - spirits, beer and
wine purchase spirits (hard liquor) from someone other than the Washington State
Liquor Control Board?
ANSWER: No. Spirits must be purchased from a Board store,
agency, or vendor using the restaurant - spirits, beer and wine restaurant purchase
permit and receiving the appropriate discount.
53. Can a restaurant - spirits, beer and wine licensed
business keep spirituous liquor in a bottle or container other than the one it was
ANSWER: Generally, no. However, there is an exception for
premixed martinis, manhattans, etc.
54. Is a retail licensee permitted to refill empty
ANSWER: No. It is a violation to reuse, refill or tamper
with any bottle of hard (spirituous) liquor.
55. Is it okay to pour the contents of a partially
filled liquor bottle into another partially filled bottle of the same kind of hard liquor?
ANSWER: No. The rules do not allow "refilling,"
even when it's the same kind of liquor.
56. Can a restaurant - spirits, beer and wine
licensee use electronic games and amusement devices in their business location?
ANSWER: Normally yes, if you intend to place the games in
the lounge. If you wish to put the games in the dining area, contact your assigned liquor
and tobacco control agent.
57. Can a class restaurant - spirits, beer and
wine licensee or a private club - spirit, beer and wine sell liquor by the
bottle to go?
ANSWER: No. A restaurant - spirits, beer and wine
license is issued, for the most part, to sell liquor by the individual glass
for consumption on the premises. A restaurant - spirits, beer and wine licensee or
a private club - spirits, beer and wine with sleeping accommodations may
sell liquor by the bottle to registered guests for consumption in their rooms.
58. Can spirituous liquor be removed from the
ANSWER: Under certain conditions a restaurant - spirits,
beer and wine licensed business may obtain a caterers endorsement which
allows liquor to be removed from the business and served at another location. Call your
assigned liquor and tobacco control agent for details.
59. Can a partially consumed bottle of wine which
was purchased with a meal in a restaurant, hotel or club be taken home?
ANSWER: Yes. The remaining portion of any wine purchased
for consumption with a meal may be taken home, provided it is recorked or recapped in its
60. Can a customer bring their own wine into a
ANSWER: Yes. At the option of the licensee, provided the
restaurant holds either a restaurant- sprits, beer and wine license or a
restaurant - beer and wine license. The wine must be consumed with a meal. The
licensee may charge a corkage fee.
61. Is it required that beer and wine taps be
ANSWER: Yes. Beer taps must contain the brand name of the
beer on tap in legible lettering visible from both the front and rear. Wine taps must be
marked and contain the brand name, wine type and wine manufacturer's name.
62. Can beer, wine and spirits be served in a Restaurant
- Spirits, beer and wine establishment when no food is available?
ANSWER: No. In a restaurant - spirits, beer and wine
licensed establishment, anytime beer, wine or spirits are offered for sale, minimum
food service must be available. Minimum food service means sandwiches and/or short orders
such as deep fried foods, hors d'oeuvres, soup, or chili. Prepackaged food such as chips
and nuts are not adequate.
63. Can hard liquor drinks be sold by the pitcher
or carafe (for example, a pitcher of margaritas)?
ANSWER: No. Spirituous liquor may only be sold by the
individual glass. Sale by the individual glass means the sale of single service drinks
in containers intended to hold an individual portion. Sale of margaritas and other
cocktails served in pitchers, carafes or bowls from which two or more persons consume is
64. Is it legal for a person under 21 years of age
to serve and/or sell liquor?
ANSWER: In a restaurant - beer and wine and
in a restaurant - spirits, beer and wine business, 18, 19 and 20 year olds may take
orders for, sell and serve liquor in the dining and banquet areas of these premises.
This would include entering the lounge, placing the order
and waiting for it to be prepared. They may not serve in the lounge area or perform the
functions of a bartender (mixing drinks, drawing tap beer and wine, etc.). For further
information, call you local liquor control agent.
Must be 21 to be a bartender and assigned
to work in the cocktail lounge.
V. QUESTIONS - TAVERN LICENSES
65. Is it okay for a person under 21 to be in a
ANSWER: No. There are exceptions for the following
- Persons 18, 19 or 20 who are musicians, disc jockeys or
sound and lighting technicians may perform in a tavern.
- Persons 18, 19 or 20 who are employees of the companies
that install, maintain, repair or remove amusement devices may perform such work in a
- Security officers, fire fighters and police officers 18,
19 or 20 may enter a tavern to perform their official duties.
- Persons 18, 19, or 20 may perform janitorial services in
a tavern when the business is closed.
Call your local liquor and tobacco control agent for
66. Is it required that beer and wine taps be
ANSWER: Yes. See question 61.
67. Can a tavern sell jugs of tap beer to go?
ANSWER: Yes. The container provided must be clean and
sanitary and have a lid or covering.
68. Can a tavern sell kegs of beer to go?
ANSWER: Yes. It is important to remember that every keg
sold to go must have attached to it a properly completed keg registration sticker.
Stickers are available at no charge at Liquor Enforcement offices statewide.
69. Is spirituous liquor allowed in a tavern?
ANSWER: Normally no. Under certain circumstances an
organization or group may obtain a banquet permit which would allow group members to bring
spirituous liquor into an area of the tavern. Contact your local liquor and tobacco control
agent for details.
70. Is a person under 21 allowed to handle beer and
ANSWER: 18, 19 and 20 year olds may sell, stock and handle
beer and wine as long as there is a supervisor 21 or older on the store premises. Also,
anyone under 21, regardless of age, may carry a customer's beer and wine to the customer's
car as long as they are accompanied by the adult purchaser.
71. Can non-alcoholic beer or wine be sold to
persons under 21?
ANSWER: Yes. If the product is classified as non-alcoholic
(has less than 1/2 of 1 percent of alcohol by volume as shown on the label), it is NOT
considered to be liquor and can be sold to anyone.
However, a business may, by its own policy, choose not to
sell non-alcoholic beer or wine to persons under 21. This is the store's decision because
the product is not regulated by the Liquor Control Board.
72. Are grocery stores required to bag beer or
ANSWER: No. It's normally done as a courtesy just as other
groceries are bagged.
73. Can a distributor take back or replace beer or
wine that a store's employees or customers have broken or damaged?
ANSWER: No. It is illegal for a store to ask the
distributor to do so.
VII. RETAILERS AND DISTRIBUTORS - A CONTROLLED RELATIONSHIP
74. Can a retailer purchase beer and wine on
ANSWER: No. All beer and wine must be paid for in cash at
the time of delivery. A personal check or money order is considered the same as cash.
75. May a distributor extend credit on liquor to a
ANSWER: No. It is illegal for the distributor to extend
credit and also for the retailer to accept credit.
76. May a beer or wine distributor or importer
extend credit on non-liquor products?
ANSWER: Distributors and importers may sell
non-alcoholic beverages and food products to a retail licensee on up to 30 days credit.
77. Can a retail licensee purchase beer or wine
from another retail licensee?
ANSWER: No. Beer and wine can only be purchased from a
licensed distributor (Washington breweries and wineries have distributor privileges) or
Exceptions will be authorized when:
A governmental agency is selling beer or wine lawfully
seized, or a retailer has discontinued business and the distributor has refused to take
back the beer and wine.
Beer and wine sold under the exception conditions must
meet quality standards set by the manufacturer of the product.
78. Can a retail licensee purchase beer or wine
from an out-of-state retailer, brewery, winery or importer?
ANSWER: No. Again, beer and wine can only be purchased from
a licensed distributor or the Board.
79. Can a retail licensee negotiate with a
distributor for a quantity discount price?
ANSWER: No. A distributor must sell to everyone at the same
80. Can a manufacturer, importer or distributor buy
drinks for me or my customers?
81. Can a representative from a brewery, winery,
distributor or importer provide free product?
ANSWER: Yes. A brewery, winery importer, distributor or
their agent may provide samples, without charge, to a retail licensee who has not
previously purchased the brand type or vintage year from the supplier furnishing the
Beer - Samples must be limited to not more than 72
ounces of any brand and type.
Wine - Samples must be limited to not more than one
liter of any brand and type.
82. Can a distillery representative provide a
retail licensee with samples?
ANSWER: Yes. A distiller or their agent may provide single
samples, without charge, to retail licensees authorized to sell spirits.
Samples are limited to 50ml.
Only one 50ml sample of each product.
Only products not previously purchased or existing
products with a change in alcohol proof or formula may be sampled.
83. Can a distributor take back or replace beer or
wine that a retailer's employees or customers have broken or damaged?
ANSWER: No. See question 73.
84. Can a manufacturer, importer or distributor of
liquor give free logoed T-shirts, baseball hats or other clothing items to a retailer?
ANSWER: No. Anything with a useful purpose must be sold to
the retailer from the liquor supplier at no less than acquisition cost. (Keep receipts of
the sale on file for two years!)
85. What can a liquor supplier give a retail liquor
ANSWER: A liquor supplier or his/her representative may
give a retail licensee point of sale products for brand identification only. The point of
sale items can have no other useful purpose to the retailer.
86. Can a retail licensee have a financial
interest, or own stock in, a brewery, winery, liquor importer or liquor wholesaler?
VIII. CHECKING IDENTIFICATION
87. What kind of I.D. can be accepted for liquor
ANSWER: Acceptable forms of I.D. are listed below. To be
acceptable, these I.D. must include the person's: photograph, date of birth, and
Types of identification legally acceptable to establish age
for the purpose of a sale of liquor or tobacco are:
- A driver's license or instruction permit issued by any
U.S. state or Canadian province. (If the customer's Washington state license has expired,
he/she must also show a valid temporary driver's license with the expired card.)
- A U.S. Military I.D. card, including active duty,
reserve, retired and/or dependent.
- A Merchant Marine I.D. card issued by the U.S. Coast
- A state liquor control I.D. An official age
identification card issued by the liquor control authority of any U.S. State or Canadian
- A state I.D. card. An official state or Canadian province
- An official passport issued by any nation.
88. What should I look for an a Washington Driver's
- Is the card valid (not expired)?
- Does the year of birth and the first two months of the
license number add up to a 100?
- Is the person 21 years old or older today?
- Does the photograph look like the person in front of you?
- Does the person standing in front of you match the physical
- Does the card have the holder's signature?
- Is the word WASHINGTON visible in the background in gold
when the card if viewed at an angle?
IX. YOUTH ACCESS TO TOBACCO
89. How old does a person need to be to buy tobacco
ANSWER: 18 years of age, or older.
90. What kind of I.D. can be accepted for tobacco
ANSWER: The same kind of I.D. is acceptable for tobacco
that is acceptable for liquor. See question 87.
91. Do I have to have my tobacco license on
ANSWER: Yes, the tobacco license (a part of your Master
Service License from the Department of Licensing) must be on display in a place where it
can be viewed by the public.
92. What kind of signs do I have to have about
ANSWER: A sign provided by the Board must be on display at
each location tobacco is sold (cash register). These signs are provided free or charge
from your local Board Enforcement offices.
93. Can I sell individual cigarettes?
ANSWER: No. All cigarettes sold must be in ORIGINAL
packages with the state tax stamp on the package.
94. Where do I get an application for a cigarette
ANSWER: Contact the Department of Licensing, Master License
Service at (360) 664-1400
95. What about cigarette vending machines? Kids can
purchase cigarettes from vending machines and no one checks the kid's I.D.!
ANSWER: Cigarette vending machines can only be located in
those portions of a business that are off limits to persons under 18 years of age -
cocktail lounges, taverns, card rooms, etc. This keeps cigarettes out of the hands of
96. How old does the person selling tobacco
products have to be?
ANSWER: There is no age restriction for the person selling
tobacco products. Check with your local Labor and Industries representative for any worker
However, if a clerk is under 18 years of age, there must be
an employee over 18 on site to supervise the clerk and the sale of cigarettes.
TOBACCO TAX INFORMATION
97. When did the Liquor Control Board begin
enforcing tobacco tax laws?
ANSWER: The Legislature gave the Boards Enforcement
and Education Division the responsibility for enforcing tobacco tax laws effective August
98. Is it legal for me to buy cigarettes at an
Indian Reservation smoke shop?
ANSWER: Normally no. Most smoke shops sell untaxed
cigarettes intended for tribal members only.
It is unlawful to possess or transport unstamped, untaxed
cigarettes UNLESS prior notification has been filed with the Board. Most private
individuals do not file such a notice or make arrangements to pay the required taxes.
99. What will happen to me if I buy cigarettes at a
smoke shop (or from out-of -state) and take them home?
ANSWER: You can be stopped, the cigarettes seized as
evidence and a criminal citation issued for a gross misdemeanor. Penalties are set by your
In addition, any vehicle the cigarettes are transported in
MAY be seized and subject to forfeiture.
There is also a civil penalty of $10 per pack or $250,
whichever is greater.
If you have more than 60,000 unstamped, untaxed cigarettes,
the criminal violation becomes a felony.
100. Why do you care where I buy my cigarettes?
ANSWER: The state estimates it was losing up to 127 million
dollars a year on untaxed cigarettes. The taxes on cigarettes help support health care. By
not collecting this money, all citizens receive less benefits.