Brewery Zoning

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The brewing, sale, and distribution of beer, ale and other malt beverages are divided into four distinct land use categories in the zoning code based on the intensity of the brewing operation. The uses are categorized as: Brewpubs, Craft Production, and Microbrewery.

Each use is defined below with a list of the zoning districts where they are allowed. Some districts also have specific limitations or requirements for the use.

To find out the zoning of a specific property, go to www.tacomapermits.org. Click on the “Maps” button and select the Dart map. Click on the “Locate” button to search by address or parcel number.  Select Legend, then select Zoning to see which zoning district the property is located in.

Brewpub
A brewpub is primarily an eating and drinking establishment (restaurant) with a small brewery on the premises which produces beer, ale, or other malt beverage, and where the majority of the beer produced is consumed on the premises. This classification allows a brewpub to sell beer at retail and/or act as wholesaler for beer of its own production for off-site consumption, with appropriate State licenses.

Brewpub – Allowed Zones
C-2: Limited to a 2,400 barrel annual production maximum. Equivalent volume winery limits apply.
NCX, CCN, UCX, RCX, CIX: Brewpubs in NCX, CCX, UCX, and RCX are limited to producing a maximum of 2,400 barrels per year of beer, ale, or other malt beverages on-premises, as determined by the annual filings of barrelage tax reports to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB). Equivalent volume winery limits apply.
DR: Limited to a 2,400 barrel annual production maximum to comply with commercial standards. Equivalent volume winery limits apply.
M-1, M-2, PMI, DCC, DMU, WR: No restrictions

Craft Production
Craft production is a commercial use that involves on-site production and assembly of goods primarily involving the use of hand tools and/or small-scale equipment. Due to the limited scale of the activities and small boutique nature of craft production establishments, they are compatible and often co-located with retail sales.

Craft production of alcoholic beverages are limited to no more than 5,000 gallons of product per year. The following regulations also apply:

  1. An occupancy that is below an “H” Hazard as defined by the current version of the adopted International Building Code (IBC) shall be maintained and not exceeded. Accessory “H” uses may be allowed provided the accessory use does not exceed 10 percent of the site’s floor area.
  2. Retail sale and onsite tasting of beverages and/or the ability for producers to act as wholesaler of its own production for off-site consumption are subject to the appropriate state and local licenses.
  3. Individual tenant spaces or units within a building may constitute the site.

Craft Production Allowed Zones
C-1, C-2, HM, PDB, NCX, CCX, UCX, RCX, CIX, DR: Craft production in these zones must include a retail/eating/drinking/tasting component that occupies a minimum of 10 percent of usable space, fronts the street at sidewalk level or has a well-marked and visible entrance at sidewalk level, and is open to the public. Outside storage is allowed with appropriate fence screening and/or buffer planting areas according to Tacoma Municipal Code (TMC) 13.06.502.C. All production, processing and distribution activities must be conducted within an enclosed building.
M-1, M-2, PMI, DCC, DMU, WR: No restrictions.

Microbrewery
A microbrewery is an establishment primarily engaged in the production and distribution of beer, ale, or other malt beverages, and which may include accessory uses such as tours of the microbrewery, retail sales, and/or on-site consumption, e.g., “taproom.” This classification allows a microbrewery to sell beer at retail and/or act as wholesaler for beer of its own production for off-site consumption with appropriate State licenses, and allows for up to 60,000 barrels per year, per the State.

Microbrewery Allowed Zones
CIX: Microbreweries are limited to 15,000 barrels per year of beer, ale, or other malt beverages, as determined by the filings of barrelage tax reports to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. Equivalent volume winery limits apply.
M-1, M-2, PMI, DCC, DMU, WR: No restrictions.
Note:  Industrial breweries producing over 60,000 barrels per year are allowed in the M-2, PMI, and WR zones.

Planning and Development Services staff are happy to discuss potential businesses and locations with anyone wishing to develop in Tacoma.

Interested parties may call to speak with a Land Use Planner at (253) 591-5030 or email us at pdszoning@cityoftacoma.org.

If the zoning of a property appears to allow your type of business, you may prepare a basic floor plan and site plan for a Pre-Application Meeting with City reviewers.  Your floor plan should show the existing building details (walls, windows, doors, label use of rooms, parking spaces, and property lines) and the proposed changes (use of rooms, brewing equipment, plumbing lines, mechanical units or fans, use of rooms, restrooms, dimensions).   Your site plan should show all property lines, parking stalls, walkways, driveways, building footprint, canopies, and other other structures.  Be sure the proposed changes are labeled “new” or are clouded or in bold so that we can easily distinguish what is being proposed.

Once you have these two drawings prepared, you may request a Pre-Application Meeting online at Tacoma Permits Accela Citizens Access (ACA): https://aca.accela.com/tacoma/.

  1. Register for an account.
  2. Log in and select the “Permits” tab.
  3. Read and accept the disclaimer.
  4. Select Pre-Application Request.
  5. Fill out the form as accurately as possible and attach drawings as a PDF titled “Drawings”.

You’ll be contacted within 2 business days to confirm a meeting time.  Pre-application meetings are usually scheduled 2-4 weeks from the date we receive a complete request form and drawings.

Applicable Regulations & RESOURCES