July 6, 2023


Those looking to sell, manufacture, import, or distribute will need a liquor license in Washington State.

I work with many individuals that have businesses involving liquor. Those looking to sell, manufacture, import, or distribute will need a liquor license in Washington State. This license is an addition to your business license acquired by the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR).Below, I share the steps and cost to apply for and receive a liquor license as well as other permit options.


Link to apply: https://www.ttb.gov/nrc/retail-beverage-alcohol-dealers

A license is either “retail” or “non-retail.” You can easily apply online at any time, however, understand that this must be done prior to doing any business and for each specific location you may own. Once you have been approved, you must keep up with inventory as well as any receipts of activity involving liquor. Selling to on-premises liquor retailers for resale at their licensed premises you will also need a federal basic permit under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act: https://www.ttbonline.gov/permitsonline/Default.aspx.


The special occasion license allows nonprofits to sell liquor at a specific date and time for things such as galas, fundraiser, auctions, and other events. The fee is $60 per day and per location and is limited to a max of 12 single-day events per year: https://lcb.wa.gov/licensing/permits. Make sure to read the regulations for all nonprofit events when it comes to liquor to avoid any violations.


There are many types of permits that cover an array of business types. Some examples of needed permits include a day spa offering complimentary wine for their customers 21 and older, a liquor service that is without charge at an international trade fair, or even a farmers market. Due to the complexity of business and events, it’s best to read thoroughly through the different permits to know which one you may need: https://lcb.wa.gov/licensing/permits.

All licensing has to be renewed annually. You will receive a renewal notice 45 days prior to the expiration date of the license. There is an annual license fee you must pay before it expires or there will be renewal penalties. Costs can range from $100 to $2000 depending on the complexity and size of your business. Employees are also required to complete a Mandatory Alcohol Service Training (MAST) permit for all those serving alcohol. The WSLCB Enforcement and Education Division is dedicated to helping licensees follow state laws if you need an officer to help you make sure you are in compliance: https://lcb.wa.gov/enforcement/enforcement-and-education.

By: Ashley Whitley WCWB