The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) has announced proposed rulemaking to roll back the 10 percent spirits distributor license fee when retailers sell spirits to on premise licensees. The announcement comes after years of a lengthy court battle initiated by the Washington Restaurant Association, Costco and Northwest Grocery Association after the Board adopted rules to prohibit activity between retailers and on-premise licensees that was expressly allowed in the voter approved initiative. The August order clarifies the 10 percent spirits distributor license fees cannot be collected from licensed distillers or certificate of approval holders who sell directly to a retailer. Consistent with the rule making process there will be a written comment period and public hearing before final rules are adopted. This is a major win for our members, will help save them money and is the result of a superior court judicial review and an appeal by the Washington Restaurant Association. The Washington Restaurant Association and Washington Lodging Association still have one active lawsuit against the LCB regarding prohibition on competitive market pricing.

To read the slip opinion for the case, click here.