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New rules in King County could put home breweries out of business

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The King County Council is considering a new set of rules that govern tasting rooms in unincorporated King County, and it’s got some folks concerned that it could put home breweries out of business. Dane Scarimbolo is the owner of the Four Horsemen Brewery in Kent and joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss the potential ramifications.

“The issue is really mainly just overstepping the preemption of field by state … Title 66 (Alcoholic Beverage Control) says that the state’s supposed to regulate us, and creating a business license for us is just overstepping power — there’s no reason for us to get double licensed,” he said.

“We’re so heavily regulated and it just it kind of goes from there and gets even worse,” he continued.

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According to Scarimbolo, the county is eliminating wineries, breweries and distilleries from being allowed as a home occupation, and while he may be grandfathered in, others in the future may not be able to turn their homebrew hobby into a small business.

“For us it would actually make it to where we would never be able to grow. There’s certain requirements for having at least two and a half acres to be a wine and beer distillery facility too, which is just above what our parcel size is,” he said.

Does King County have it out for small breweries?

“So for us, if we ever wanted to expand and do conditional use and increase the amount of employees or anything like that, we’d never be able to do it as we aren’t the large enough size. And WBD’s [wineries, breweries, and distilleries] … are not allowed to have tastings.”

This is especially a key part of businesses like Scarimbolo’s, since people often drop by to sample some of the beers and then take home growlers. Scarimbolo says he’s met with council members and found that they won’t budge on the parcel changes, and seemed unsympathetic to how it would impact his business.

“I just I can’t figure out the why and it’s driving me crazy, because to not have our business here, to not have businesses in the rural area — we’re the worst county in the state as far as sales happening in the rural area,” he said.  “And we don’t know all the other businesses that are out there as well that we don’t even know that this ordinance is going on.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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