Retail/Non-Retail Relationships

Retail/Non-Retail Relationships

Washington state has laws and rules regarding the relationship between alcohol manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. (RCW 66.28.010. WAC 314-12-114)

Following is a list of important rules you need to know:

  • Unless specifically allowed by law or rule, retail licensees may not accept any discounts, gifts, loans, premiums, rebates, treats or services from any alcohol manufacturer, importer or distributor. (WAC 314-12-140)
  • Manufacturers, importers and distributors may not give, lend or rent any equipment, fixtures or supplies to retail licensees. They may, however, sell them on a cash basis at not less than their cost of acquisition. (WAC 314-12-140)
  • Distributors may build, rotate and restock displays and price products of their own brands for the retailer. A distributor can only handle another beer/wine distributors’ products with reasonable prior notice (at least 24 hours). A beer/wine distributor may NOT handle other grocery items. (WAC 314-12-140)
  • Retail licensees may not enter into any agreement to sell any particular brand(s) of alcohol beverage to the exclusion of another brand. (WAC 314-12-140)
  • Distributors may not make any sale of beer or wine dependent upon the purchase of any other product or item. (WAC 314-12-140)
  • Distributors may only take back beer or wine that was delivered to a retailer in error, if the error is discovered and corrected within eight days of the delivery. (WAC 314-20-170 & 314-24-210)
  • Distributors may replace outdated products with the identical quantity, type and brand of products. (WAC 314-20-170 & 314-24-210)
  • Manufacturers and distributors may not extend credit to retail licensees. Checks, credit card, debit card or electronic funds transfer payments that are returned for insufficient funds may be considered an extension of credit and therefore a violation. (WAC 314-13-020)


This article is an excerpt from the Handbook for Excellent Restaurant Operations (HERO), published by the Washington Hospitality Association.  Want a hard copy of the whole manual?  It’s one of the many benefits of becoming a member!  Find out more about joining the Washington Hospitality Association here.

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Categories: HERO