Adult Beverage Ordinance sets rules for businesses

Pictured is a stock photograph of a someone pouring red wine into a glass at a tasting room.

King County’s Adult Beverage Ordinance 19030 went into effect on Jan. 3, 2020.

This ordinance updates development regulations related to all adult beverage businesses—including wineries, breweries, distilleries, and remote tasting rooms—in unincorporated King County.

This ordinance will help King County prepare for and support the future evolution of the adult beverage industry in the region. It better implements and complies with the policies of King County’s Comprehensive Plan, Growth Management Act, and countywide planning policies.

The county’s Permitting Division, in coordination with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and Public Health-Seattle & King County, has developed a process for implementing the new law for both new and existing businesses.

Under the new ordinance, a business license is required in unincorporated King County for all businesses that manufacture adult beverages and including tasting rooms. The license fee is $100. A separate Temporary Use Permit may also be required for special events.

To get an adult beverage business license application, please call the county’s Permit Center at 206-296-6600 or email

Within 30 days of receiving an adult beverage license application, King County will notify the applicant whether their application has been approved.

If approved, the business license is valid for six months. Before it expires, King County will send each applicant a letter notifying them of any additional actions needed to bring their adult beverage business into compliance with the ordinance.

To renew an adult beverage business license at the end of six months, each applicant must demonstrate substantial progress toward bringing their adult beverage business into compliance.

After the initial six-month license period, all adult beverage businesses must renew their licenses annually.

King County Permits is beginning the process of notifying affected individuals and businesses about these changes this month. Details are available at