Washington distillers may have reason to celebrate this legislative session. House Bill 2364 and its companion Senate Bill 6226 are making their way through the legislative process with much support and little opposition. To follow the bill, click here.
The bills would achieve the following:
- Increases the annual spirits production limit for craft distillers from 60,000 gallons to 150,000 gallons.
- Eliminates the three liter per day per person limit on the sale of spirits by a craft distiller for off-premises consumption.
- Authorizes a craft distillery to charge customers a fee for spirits samples of 1/2 ounce or less served to them on premises.
- Authorizes any licensed distillery to: sell spirits of its own production for consumption off the premises; contract with, and sell spirits to other licensed distillers and manufacturers; and provide for free, or for a charge, spirits samples of 1/2 ounce or less to customers on the premises, subject to a daily maximum of two ounces per person per day. Samples will likely be restricted to unaltered samples by rule–no mixed samples.
- Authorizes special occasion licensees to pay for spirits immediately following a special occasion event.
- Authorizes a special occasion licensee to charge reasonable booth fees to a distillery participating in the event.
These changes are good news for both distillers and craft distillers. Craft distillers would be able to produce more spirits before being required to become distillers and will be able to (but not required to) charge for samples for guests at the distillery premises. Distillers would be able to offer samples to guests at the distillery premises–a privilege that they currently do not have and that hampers their ability to market their product.