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Current Licensee FAQs
Renewing/terminating your liquor license
How often do I renew my liquor license?
Liquor licenses are renewed yearly. You will receive a notice your license is up for renewal 45 days before the expiration date. The cost for renewal is based on your license type. The local authority (i.e. mayor or county commissioners) is also notified that your license is up for renewal and has the option to object to the renewal of your license.
Who should I notify if I want to terminate my liquor license or don’t want to renew it?
Please contact your local liquor enforcement officer. If you don't know who that is, or need a phone number, please call customer service at (360) 664-1600.
I am selling my business. Do I get a refund of my unused liquor license?
No, there is no prorating of fees for discontinued liquor licenses.
How do I order spirits for my spirits, beer, and wine restaurant?
You may purchase spirits from a domestic (in-state) Spirits Distributor, Spirits Retailer licensee, Craft Distillery, or Distillery. You may also purchase spirits from a U.S. distillery holding a Spirits Out-of-State Certificate of Approval (COA) with Washington to ship spirits directly to licensed retailers. To receive direct shipments from COA holders, you must have the “Washington Retailer Receiving Direct Shipments” endorsement. There is no fee for this endorsement. Complete and submit the “Application for Added Endorsement/Fee Sheet”.
What signs do I need to post at my business?
A number of signs must be posted at your business. The signs you need are based on the type of license you hold.
What kind of training do my employees need?
A Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST) permit is required by law for employees who serve alcohol or supervise the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption.
Do I need approval for alterations or additional activities at my licensed premises?
Some activities and alterations require either notice to the Board or prior approval.
You must notify your local enforcement office in writing at least 48 hours before conducting the following activities (WAC 314-02-125):
- Male/female dance reviews, subject to the provisions of WAC 314-11-050;
- Live boxing or wrestling;
- Contests or games where patrons are part of the entertainment; and
- Hours of operation between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. for licensees that sell liquor for on-premises consumption.
The following changes to a licensed premises require prior Board approval (WAC 314-02-130). Please call the WSLCB Customer Service Desk at (360) 664-1600 for more information.
- Excluding persons under 21 from a spirits, beer, and wine restaurant or nightclub
- Excluding persons under 21 from the dining area of a beer and/or wine restaurant
- Reclassifying a lounge as open to persons under 21
- Extending the location of alcohol service, such as a beer garden or patio/deck service (areas must be enclosed with a barrier that is a minimum of 42'' in height)
- Storing liquor off of the licensed premises
- Initiating room service in a hotel or motel
- Installing a pass-through window for walk-up customers
- Using a licensed premises as an access to another business
- Any alteration that affects the size of a premises' customer service area
Following laws and regulations
How can I stay current with changes to liquor and tobacco laws and regulations?
The WSLCB Laws and Rules page offers up-to-date information on liquor and tobacco related laws and rules. The WSLCB posts fact sheets following each Legislative Session to help you understand any changes or new legislation.
What services does my local WSLCB enforcement officer provide?
The WSLCB Enforcement and Education Division is dedicated to helping licensees follow state liquor and tobacco laws and regulations. Your local WSLCB enforcement officer can help you understand liquor laws and regulations through classes or visits. Also, officers conduct enforcement operations such as compliance checks and premises visits to ensure businesses are in compliance with those laws.
What happens if I violate a liquor or tobacco law or regulation?
If an enforcement officer believes you have violated a law or regulation, they may issue you an administrative violation notice.
“Understanding your Hearing Options for Administrative Violations from the WSLCB” is a guide that will help you understand what to do if you receive one of these notices.
Making responsible sales
What resources are available to help me make responsible alcohol and tobacco sales?
- Free “responsible alcohol and tobacco sales” classes are regularly offered or you may request a class at your business if you have a large group.
- The “Responsible Alcohol Sales: A Guide for Washington’s Retail Stores” can be used when training employees about alcohol sales. Please print copies as needed or, to order copies, send us an e-mail.
- “Last Call” is a video about making responsible alcohol sales.
What forms of identification can I accept?
Checking identification is an important part of ensuring legal sales. Customers must be 21 or older to purchase alcohol, and 18 or older to purchase tobacco.
Acceptable forms of ID:
- Driver license, ID card, or instruction permit issued by any U.S. or Canadian province
- Washington temporary driver license
- U.S. military ID
- Official passport
- Merchant Marine ID
Washington State tribal enrollment card
A valid ID must show:
- Date of birth
- Signature (except U.S. military IDs)
- Expiration date (except tribal enrollment cards)