Craft distillery legislation passes Senate, moves on to House

Legislation designed to allow the state’s craft distilleries to expand their retail offerings passed the Senate 42-3 Wednesday and was awaiting its first reading in the House Appropriations Committee Friday afternoon.

Wishkah Rivery Distillery co-owner and master distiller Josh Mayr said the Senate passage is “good news, although we have a long way to go yet.”

The legislation would allow up to two off-site tasting rooms that allow for retail sales, putting craft distilleries more in line with regulations governing wineries and breweries. An amendment that would have excluded anyone under 21 years of age from a distillery was further amended to allow for minors in tasting rooms if they are under the supervision of an adult and there is a defined separate area for children, either another room or a barrier within the tasting room.

A hearing on the bill is expected in the next couple of weeks, said Mayr.