Every time we are approached about kegs for events, there are always a number of questions that we have to ask regarding the event to decide which route to take in the way we supply the keg. As time has gone by, we’ve come to realize that not everybody knows the all the details regarding the legalities of beer. What? You mean you haven’t read the entire Washington State Liquor Control Board website outlining all of Washington liquor and tobacco laws and regulations? Get with the program people! Well if you don’t have the 2 years, 7 months, 11 days, and 18 hours it takes to completely read and understand all of the different regulations surrounding beer, wine, spirits and tobacco in the State of Washington (or in our case, have a part-time lawyer on the team who is relatively up to date on most of these things), we thought we might be able to help out a little. What we are about to explain pertains to only us (we’re selfish like that) and about the ways to go about getting a keg from us. We’ll use four different scenarios that are the most common.
The first is a fundraiser for a non-profit organization. The key word there for us is “non-profit”. The only time we are allowed to 100% donate a beer to a fundraiser is if it is backed by a 501(c)(3) or a 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation or association. Even though that sounds extremely specific, there are actually a large number of non-profits that are doing different fundraisers and they are all looking for a way to involve more of the community. Something that has been used to draw more people in has been by including beer in their events. For these events, the organization must acquire a Special Occasion License from the liquor control board (http://liq.wa.gov/licensing/special-occasion-licenses), which allows the sale of drinks by the glass, but is only offered to non-profits. We donate kegs to some events and we sell kegs to others at a non-profit rate. The non-profit then has the choice of offering drink tickets as part of the admission/ticket price or selling beer by the glass to raise funds.
The second scenario that comes up for us regarding our kegs is an event where an organization wants to buy the beer and then turn around and sell it to the public. Unless the venue that these events are being held currently hold a liquor license (more specifically, a liquor license that allows draft beer to be poured), the organization would need to hire a caterer who is licensed to sell alcohol at events. The proceeds must go directly to the caterer, not the sponsoring organization. The only way to not involve a caterer is to get a Banquet Permit from the Liquor Control Board (which we’ll talk about next). Our involvement in this situation is minimal. Because the event isn’t backed by a non-profit organization, we are not allowed to donate the beer or participate in the event unless it is a beer-tasting event.
We already started to mention the third situation when we talked about getting a Banquet Permit instead of a caterer for an event. A Banquet Permit does not allow an organization to sell alcohol for their event, but instead is for a private function where alcohol is provided to the guest for free or as part of the admission. A banquet permit is not available for events that include alcohol sales to the public or are advertised to the public. In other words, if you have having an event at a private venue, your office building, etc., this is the permit available for you. So for this third scenario, you need to purchase a Banquet License as well as the kegs.
Last but not least, the fourth scenario, which is most common, is keg-to-go sales. That would be you and your friends having a group of friends together for a wedding, at your house for a football game, a birthday party, or just a great Saturday night. In this instance, you’d just call us to reserve a keg, come in and fill out a “Keg Registration Declaration and Receipt” sticker that we get from the Liquor Control Board, fill out a “Keg Contract” ensuring us you will prevent underage drinking, prevent over-service, and return the keg and any other equipment in the same condition as you got it. After that, you’re good to go!
Every situation is a little different, and there are tons of rules that apply to each scenario, but hopefully this helped shine some light on the in-depth, often confusing, sometimes irritating, world of beer to go.