Closing Your Business? Will it be Temporary or Permanent?

We understand that your business is very important to you and we want you to succeed! However, sometimes businesses need to close and discontinue, some temporary and some permanent. The following is an explanation of the process for a temporary and/or permanent discontinued business for both liquor and cannabis.
The agency issues licenses based on criteria that includes the location of the business. If a liquor or cannabis licensee is no longer doing business at their licensed location, the license will be discontinued.
Temporary Discontinued Business
If a licensee needs to temporarily cease operations at their current licensed location, the WSLCB may approve a temporary discontinue business under the following circumstances.
Alcohol (business closed for 30 days or more):
  • Seasonal business discontinues liquor sales in the off months
  • Temporary closing for remodel or extended vacation
  • An emergency occurs that requires evacuation
  • Property owner asks licensee to vacate for reasons outside licensee’s control (Request to vacate due to failure to pay rent or multiple violations are not eligible for a temporary discontinued license)
  • Other temporary issues that receive approval from Enforcement chain of command
If you sell spirits and you have some product remaining at closure, you can do the following:
  • Contact the distributor to see if they will take the product back (distributors are not required to take product back)
  • Purchase any remaining alcohol for personal use which will require you to pay taxes on the purchase. The form for this will need to be completed with your enforcement officer
  • Destroy any remaining product in the presence of your enforcement officer
Note: Businesses that close for less than 30 days do not need to request approval to temporarily close their businesses as long as their liquor is secured.
If you plan on closing your business, temporary or permanent, please contact your local enforcement officer and let them know your status. Enforcement officers are required to follow specific protocols which include a discontinued business report. The report notates if the request was by the licensee or if the premises were already vacated. An officer will attempt three contacts to reach the licensee prior to completing a discontinued business report.  
For any questions or concerns, please contact your local enforcement officer.

Driver License Numbering Change Coming Soon

The Department of Licensing (DOL) is launching a new driver licensing system September 4, 2018. With the new system, DOL is changing the numbering scheme for driver licenses (standard and enhanced), identification cards, and commercial driver licenses.
The new driver licensing number (DLN) scheme will still use 12 characters. The first three letters will begin with WDL followed by a combination of randomly generated letters and numbers.  The new DLN will be more secure because it does not use protected personal information like name or birthdate. 
After September 4, every person receiving a license for the first time in Washington will receive one with the new DLN format. People who already have a license or identification card will get the new DLN on it at their next issuance event after September 4---when they renew their license, or replace it for some reason.
It will take six years to replace the numbers on all the licenses and identification cards with the new DLN format.  This means we will have both versions in circulation until 2024.

Direct Access and Shared Spaces

In addition to their day-to-day work our investigators get a lot of inquiries from the public about business plans and ideas. If you've dreamed it they can probably tell you if its feasible or not. One concept we've been hearing more pitches about are multiple businesses operating in the same space, for example: an arcade, sandwich shop and bar occupying the same indoor space but each business is a separately owned entity.
Unfortunately this sort of business model isn't allowed under Washington State law. License applicants (and licensees) must have control over the premises and there can be no other business entities operating within the same space.
Along those same lines, direct access from the licensed location to a neighboring business is likewise prohibited unless the neighboring business is operated, owned and leased by the same entity applying for/operating the liquor license.
If you have questions about your proposed business model please contact Licensing Customer Service at (360) 664-1600.   

Alcohol Rules Update

Several rulemakings are currently underway and are detailed below. As always, we encourage your participation in the rulemaking process and value public input. You can find information about any current rulemaking on the Proposed Rules webpage under Laws and Rules on the WLSCB’s website. You can also find additional materials related to rulemaking items brought to Board meetings on the Board’s webpage under Board Meeting Schedule and Informationhere.
Recently Adopted Rules
Liquor Acceptable Forms of Identification (Effective May 5, 2018)
Private Label Spirits (Effective May 5, 2018)
Proposed Rules
Spirits Mini Bottles 
Spirits Beer/Wine Restaurants 

How can you participate in the rulemaking process? 
Check out our Proposed Rules webpage under Laws and Rules on the WLSCB’s website and submit comments to All rulemaking activity occurs at Board meetings. You can access Board agendas and meeting materials at the Board’s webpage: Board Meeting Schedule and Information.

Outside Service

With the weather getting warmer we are seeing more requests for outside/extended alcohol service from licensees. These activities are governed by WAC 314-03-200, and require prior approval from the our licensing division and have restrictions;
  • Area must be enclosed with a permanent or movable barrier a minimum of forty-two inches in height; and
  • Must be an interior access to the licensed premises.
  • There must be an attendant, wait staff, or server dedicated to the outside service area when patrons are present.
  • Must have leasehold rights to the area and have and be connected to the licensed premises.
  • Openings into and out of the outside area cannot exceed ten feet. If there is more than one opening along one side, the total combined opening may not exceed ten feet.

Did You Know There is an Exemption to the 42 Inch Barrier Requirement?

In 2017 the Board amended WAC 314-02-130 to create limited exemptions for "Sidewalk Cafes." If your business has:
  • Exclusive leasehold rights to the outside service area.
  • An outside service area located on the sidewalk and contiguous to the business (not an adjacent parking lot or space like a beer garden, patio, etc.).
  • AND a sidewalk cafe permit issued by your local government. 
If you have all of these things then the Board MAY grant an exemption to the 48 in barrier requirement (exemptions are not automatic and subject to approval). 
In lieu of the 42 inch barrier licensees are required to maintain permanent 6 inch diameter demarcations (turtles, inlaid medallions, etc.) at all boundaries of the outside service area.
Contact our licensing customer service to see if you qualify (360) 664-1600, press option 1. 

Reseller Permit

If you sell or manufacture alcohol you likely need a reseller permit issued by the Washington State Department of Revenue. The permit allows retailers and wholesalers to purchase items for sale without paying sales tax. It also allows manufacturers to purchase ingredients/components without paying sales tax as well. 
You can find detailed information at or call (800) 647-7706.    

Licensing Webinars

Our Licensing Division provides free WebEx classes for applicants and licensees about a variety of alcohol and cannabis related topics. These classes, led by agency experts, are geared towards users and their questions. 
Please check out the upcoming classes and sign up for the topics that interest you.  We record each session, so if you missed a session you are interested in, check out our archives.
Non-retail liquor licenses: May 16, 2-3 pm
  • Non-retail liquor license types and requirements
  • TTB Federal Permit
  • How to apply for an out of state non-retail license
  • Agent’s license
Business structure changes: June 13, 2-3 pm
  • Change of location
  • Discontinued business
  • Endorsements
Cannabis licensing forms: July 25, 2-3 pm
  • Change of Location applications
  • How to split a producer/processor

2018 Legislative Fact Sheets Now Available

Fact sheets detailing new alcohol and marijuana related laws from the 2018 legislative session are now available on the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s website. Where available/relevant the fact sheets also contain information about the agency’s process to implement these changes.
If you have additional questions please use the point of contact referenced on the fact sheet. 

Promote public safety and trust through fair administration and enforcement of liquor, cannabis, tobacco, and vapor laws.
-WSLCB Mission Statement
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