Saturday, September 15, 2012

Do we need an alcohol permit?

Our local unit is planning an auction and we want to include the option of having alcoholic drinks available for those attending because we think it might help increase some of the bidding.  Do we need to have a license, and if so how do we go about getting it?   

Before answering your question directly I want to point out Washington state law prohibits open containers of alcohol on school grounds, so this event will have to be held at another location, such as a community center or a local restaurant or club. 

Now to your question.  If you are not having the event at a business that is already licensed to sell liquor or you are not using a caterer with a license, then yes the PTA must obtain a license from the Washington State Liquor Control Board.  The kind of license will depend on how the event is conducted.  If you are selling individual drinks, you will need a “Special Occasion” license.  You can download the application form from the LCB’s website and then mail it to the office in Olympia —please note that you must submit the application at least 45 days before the event.  If you are making drinks available on a hosted basis (i.e. not charging for individual drinks) you need a Banquet Permit, which you can apply for and obtain online. 

One final note.  You may be told that anyone serving the drinks needs to have a Mixologist’s Permit, but that is not accurate.  People who are paid to serve alcoholic drinks in a licensed business establishment are required to obtain such a permit, but the legal requirement does not extend to volunteers operating under either a Special Occasion license or a Banquet Permit.