With 50 sets of beer laws, there are 50 unique sets of rules and regulations. While you don’t need to know all of them you should know the alcohol laws in your state. For those in Washington what do the beer laws look like in 2023?
Keep reading for the most important rules and regulations surrounding alcohol in Washington. I will cover when and where you can get a beer as well as laws to look out for.
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Is Washington a dry state?
Dry states are those that restrict or even outlaw the sale of alcohol. There are no dry states in the United States.
Washington is not a dry state. Despite this, there are dry areas in the state that limit alcohol sales or allow none.
Many states allow their counties to go dry by vote. Most remain dry except for in certain states.
Does Washington have any dry counties?
Washington has only one dry area.
In Washington, the Yamaka Native American Reservation is completely dry. This Reservation covers Yamaka county and part of Klickitat county.
The rest of the state is considered wet. The town of College place allows alcohol though it does not have any bars.
When can you buy beer in Washington?
Though the state is wet, it does place some limits on when you can buy beer. These limits dictate the hours that locations that sell alcohol can stay open.
In Washington, you can buy beer from both on and off-premise consumption retailers between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. the following day.
However, localities can restrict these hours more than they are at the state level.
Can you buy beer on Sunday in Washington?
Many states used to have laws that would restrict or even outlaw alcohol sales on Sundays. These laws were commonly called “blue laws.” Washington finally repealed their blue laws in 1967.
You can buy beer on Sunday in Washington. The sale hours are from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. just like the rest of the week.
When do bars close in Washington?
Bars are limited to the legal alcohol sale hours just like other licensees.
Bars in Washington close at 2 a.m. at the latest. Closing time may be different across the state if the locality decides to move it back. Additionally, bars may close earlier for their own reasons.
Bars in restaurants often close when the restaurant does which is usually earlier than 2 am.
Where can you buy beer in Washington?
There are also regulations that dictate where you can buy a beer in addition to the hour regulations.
You can buy beer in all of the following locations:
- Bars and restaurants
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Package and liquor stores
- Breweries and taprooms
Each of these types of locations has rules that they must follow. Below, I will go over the important ones for each type.
Bars and restaurants
Washington bars and restaurants can sell alcohol between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. any day of the week. These locations mostly sell beer for on-premise consumption but can sell for off-premise as well. If the bar or restaurant chooses to you can get growlers filled.
Some locations may only fill their own growlers while others will fill any.
You can buy beer and wine at gas stations in Washington between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. All sales are for off-premise consumption in the original packaging.
In Washington, grocery stores can sell beer and wine between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. any day of the week. Grocery stores can sell growlers of beer and cider if they meet certain conditions.
Large grocery stores can also sell liquor though this only benefits large chains.
Package and liquor stores
Package and liquor stores in Washington can sell alcohol every day from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. All sales are for off-premise consumption in the original packaging. Licensees can deliver alcohol to customers during standard operating hours.
Liquor stores can also offer samples under certain regulations.
Breweries and taprooms
Breweries in Washington can sell beer between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. every day of the week. Sales can be for on or off-premise consumption. Breweries can also fill or sell growlers of their beer.
Breweries can sell their own beer and beer from other breweries. The condition is that the guest beers cannot exceed 25% of the on-tap beers.
Can you get beer delivered in Washington?
As great as alcohol delivery is, some states don’t allow it. This has changed in recent years, however.
You can get beer delivered in Washington with a few regulations. The delivery laws include:
- Delivery must be made to an address that the USPS recognizes.
- Deliveries can only take place between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m.
- The customer cannot be drunk when receiving the delivery.
- The delivery employee must get age confirmation prior to delivery.
What is the minimum drinking age in Washington?
Though there are a few exceptions in some states, the minimum drinking age is the same across the United States.
The minimum drinking age is 21 in Washington.
It is illegal for an underage individual to possess, purchase, or consume alcohol. Providing a minor with alcohol is also a crime.
Can minors drink beer in Washington with parents?
One of the common exceptions is parental or guardian approval. Washington allows this exception.
Minors can drink with their parents in Washington. The parents or guardians must be present and provide the alcohol. The minor may not drink at a bar or restaurant even if the parents are there and give permission.
Another exception exists for religious services. Outside of these circumstances, it is illegal for minors to drink.
Drinking laws in Washington
Overall, the drinking laws in Washington are reasonable and straightforward.
Compared to other states the Washington state laws are not particularly strict. Crimes related to drinking are punished while many freedoms are allowed.
The state had previously been involved in the liquor market but has since allowed the privatization of the market.
Can you buy growlers and other unsealed beer containers in Washington?
Growlers are unsealed containers for beer that often hold either 32 or 64 ounces. They are a great option for craft and microbreweries. However, some states do not allow these containers for various reasons.
You can buy and refill growlers in Washington. Bars, breweries, restaurants, and certain grocery stores can sell or fill growlers. They may fill growlers with any branding, though some locations will only fill growlers with their own branding.
Additionally, a taproom can fill growlers with their brewery’s beer or other breweries’.
Naturally, when you have a growler you need to be extra aware of open container laws. An open container is defined as any container of alcohol with a broken seal or one that is partially emptied.
In Washington, it is illegal for the driver and passengers in a motor vehicle to possess an open container. The container must be in the trunk or locked glove box of the vehicle.
There are a few exceptions to this law. Passengers in the living area of a motor home or in the passenger area of a hired vehicle (like a limo) are allowed to both possess and drink from an open container.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is always illegal. It comes with severe penalties.
Washington has several sets of punishments and legal limits when it comes to DUI convictions. The punishment and limits depend on the age of the driver.
Under 21 years old
In addition to the illegality of underage drinking, driving while impaired comes with some severe penalties.
The legal limit for underage drivers is 0.02% BAC in Washington. The penalties of the first conviction can include:
- Suspended license for at least 90 days
- Up to $1,000 fine
- Possible community service
21 years and older
Though drinking is legal at 21 years old, driving under the influence never is.
The legal limit for of-age drivers is 0.08% BAC in Washington. The first conviction can come with the following penalties:
- At least 1 day of jail time
- Up to a $5,000 fine
- Suspended license for at least 90 days
- Ignition Interlock for a year after the suspension
Summary of Washington’s beer and alcohol laws
In Washington, you can buy beer, wine, and liquor every day of the week between 6 am and 2 am. Sundays do not have restricted times. Washington state allows alcohol deliveries, growlers, and a few exceptions to the minimum drinking age.