Senate passes bill to limit liquor fees for bars and restaurants



OLYMPIA — The Senate has narrowly passed a measure that would eliminate a 17 percent fee on liquor sold by grocers to restaurants and bars in Washington state.

Senate Bill 6220 passed by a 26-23 vote Thursday. It would allow grocery stores and big-box retailers to sell spirits to those in the bar and restaurant industry without having to pay a 17 percent fee. The amount of liquor per transaction would be limited, however. An amendment to the bill that passed put a 60-liter limit on the amount that could be purchased in one transaction.

The limited amount could have come from liquor distributors, who see the measure as a move by Costco to get into the distribution business without the fees that currently come with it.

The bill will head to the House for consideration.