Salish Sea Organic Liqueur

Tasting privileges for non-craft distilleries! When will it happen?!

17 posts in this topic

Has anyone heard anything recently about the possibility of allowing tastings for all three state licenses? Under current state laws we cannot provide tastings since it would be impossible for us to produce our product and meet the 50% requirement. I've heard a lot of frustration about this from other people in the industry, especially absinthe and rum makers who cannot meet the requirements since their base products don't grow in Washington.

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Hey there and welcome!

The Guild has been working hard over the past several months toward changes like this that will benefit a broad section of our membership. As those who have attended meetings or reviewed the minutes know, the board enlisted the services of a legislative liaison (a.k.a. a lobbyist) to help us get in front of the right people and to get some legislation introduced.

That work led to the following bills being introduced:

HSB 2364 PASSED the legislature on February 13 by a vote of 93-4! It now goes on to the Senate for a vote (hopefully the giant margin in the house is a good omen). You can track the bills' progress at the above links.

The main changes the bills will allow:

  • 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 one-half ounce or less served to them on premises subject to a daily maximum of two ounces per person per day.
  • 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 one-half ounce or less to customers on the premises, subject to a daily maximum of two ounces per person per day.
  • Requires a distillery that sells spirits for off-premises consumption to comply with all laws and regulations applicable to liquor retailers.
  • Authorizes a special occasion licensee to charge reasonable booth fees to a distillery participating in the event.

You might be particularly interested in the last part of bullet #4.

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I guess Representatives Green (Lakewood, Tacoma, Ft. Lewis), Kagi (Shoreline, Mount Lake Terrace, Lynnwood), Klippert (Richland, Kennewick), and Van De Wege (Port Angelis, Forks) won't be getting my endorsement!:lol:

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The bill passed the senate today! 41 yeas 6 nays!!

Soon all distilleries in state will have tasting privileges and well as no limited on sales per person per day!

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?year=2014&bill=6226

Let's just keep these victories in mind when it comes time for guild dues this year!

There is a lot more work to do, and that work costs money... :-)

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Since the Senate and House bills are so similar, does it now need to go to a conference committee and final vote by both houses?

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Yes, unfortunately it does. But from what I've heard from our friends on the hill, this won't be much of an issue. There will be a public hearing on it this upcoming monday at 1:30pm.

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Nothing wrong with asking. You can keep updated with the bill right here. It passed both the house and senate in slightly different forms, got revised and caucused and then sent for the first reading again which passed and it has now been sent for a third reading. After that there is either one more reading or it goes to the governor to get signed into law. It should pass well before the deadlines. We were at the public hearing on it last week and there seemed to be a lot of support for it from the house and senate. So much support in fact that the person who was supposed to speak in opposition to it gave up and left early instead of speaking.

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6226&year=2013

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I testified at both the Senate and the house hearings. Both chairs and all the committee members were in favor of the bill(s). As I spoke each one looked me in the eye and nodded their heads in agreement. When done, the Chairman stated that he fully supported what Will and I had to say. It's not done till its done but at this point it looks very promising.

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The new one introduced last Wednesday will (IMO) be just as important. Lowering the state sales tax from 20 to 6% !

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