AHA Member Deals Now Legal in Washington

by Steve Parr, AHA Assistant Director

After nearly 10 years, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), a division of the Brewers Association (BA), is excited to announce the launch of AHA Member Deals for breweries and brewpubs in the state of Washington.

AHA Member Deals, a benefit of AHA membership, features more than 1,300 participating breweries, restaurants, and homebrew retailers nationwide showing their support for the homebrewing community by giving special offers to AHA members.

A 2006 ruling by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) meant that Brewers Association member breweries were unable to provide discounts to visiting AHA members, a benefit enjoyed by their counterparts in all other 49 states. We’re excited to say that Washington is Member-Deal-less no more! After a series of tied-house law1 changes removed the section of the Washington State alcohol code prohibiting brewery participation in the program, the AHA teamed up with Stoel Rives LLP, a law firm whose Seattle office has a background in the beer and hospitality industries, to obtain a new ruling with success.

Due to a number of  changes in code, including newly added exceptions allowing promotion of industry tourism2 in the state of Washington, WSLCB determined the AHA Member Deals program is no longer in violation of existing law3.

There is Work to be Done

We’re now focused on helping the Washington homebrewing community enjoy the same number of AHA Member Deals as the rest of the nation.

You might be asking yourself, “What can I do to help?” We’re glad you asked.

YOU are the local expert. Whom should we recruit to participate in AHA Member Deals? Please share your knowledge to help point us in the right direction. Click the button below to submit your suggested businesses or share the program with the proprietor of your preferred local pub yourself:

Suggest a Member Deal Participant

Washington AHA Member Deals Pioneers

Since the previous ruling only prevented BA member breweries from participating in the program, a number of Washington-based homebrew retailers and industry friends have been participating for years:

Location Location Offer
Homebrew Heaven Everett, WA 5% Off Purchases
Larry’s Brewing Supply Seattle, WA 5% Off Purchases
HopGear.com Yakima, WA 20% Off Purchases (using code AHA20)
AlphaAnalyticsTesting.com Yakima, WA 15% Off Your Entire Order (using code AHA15)

Would your beer business like to offer and AHA Member Deal? Head over to our Business Tools section.

  1. State and federal law prohibit certain relations between those engaged in the production, wholesale, and retail sale of alcoholic liquor, including wine. The name “tied house” is derived from a common practice in England where a bar is “tied” to a specific producer by either ownership, contractual obligations, or other influences.
  2. Subpart (a) of subsection (1) of WAC 314-52-090 provides an exception for advertising “promoting tourism in Washington State.” The underlying statute, RCW 66.28.310, subsection (3), subpart (c) provides that the state’s “tied-house” regulation does not prohibit “industry members and retailers from producing, jointly or together with regional, state, or local industry associations…materials promoting tourism in Washington state which contain information regarding retail licensees, industry members, and their products.” Subpart (b) of subsection (1) of WAC 314-52-090 provides an additional exception whereby “a manufacturer, importer, or distributor may list on their web sites information related to retailers who sell or promote their products.” RCW 66.28.310, subsection (3), subpart (a) supports this.[1]
  3. Retailers would be in violation of existing statues if they do any of the following: 1) advertise free alcohol, 2) discount the price below the cost of acquisition, or, in the case of a licensed restaurant that is not itself a brewer, 3) accept money or rebates from a brewer or distributor to help fund a discount offered to consumers.
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