Serving Franklin County, WA

State allows axe-throwing at businesses with liquor licenses

State allows axe-throwing at businesses with liquor licenses

The Center Square

OLYMPIA — The state Liquor and Cannabis Board voted to allow axe-throwing inside liquor establishments as early as July 9.

Previously, bars and taverns were prohibited from having axe-throwing in the state.

The rule change was prompted by requests from businesses wanting to offer the newly popular activity.

"Axe-throwing has become increasingly popular as an activity that businesses would like to offer in combination with liquor services – excuse me – liquor service,” Liquor and Cannabis Board Policy and Rules Coordinator Audrey Vasek said during the board's Wednesday, June 8, meeting.

"Beginning in 2018, the licensing division began receiving applications from businesses that either had axe-throwing as their primary activity and wanted to add liquor or from established liquor license businesses that wanted to add axe-throwing," she said.

In April 2021, the board approved an agreement with a Blade and Timber of Seattle granting the axe-throwing business a one-year liquor license under a pilot program.

"The agreement was part of a settlement resulting from Blade and Timber suing the state over initially being denied a liquor license," Vasek said.

No incidents have been reported.

Following a public comment period earlier this year – including a so-called “listen-and-learn” session involving some 65 participants – the board developed rules that would require liquor-licensed establishments that offer axe-throwing to create a safety plan.

"These rules are needed to provide a framework to address public health and safety concerns that arise when alcohol service is combined with axe-throwing, as well as provide consistency for businesses that seek approval to offer axe-throwing at their premises,” Vasek said.

As for the rules themselves, they are designed to minimize any mishaps that might occur when imbibing alcohol is combined with sharp-edged implements being hurled through the air.

"The final rules before you today would require licensees that offer axe-throwing to create a safety operating plan that includes two main components,” Vasek said. “One, protocols for monitoring patron intoxication and consumption of alcohol. And two, a floor plan designating consumption areas where alcohol is allowed, and identifying the axe-throwing area where alcohol is not allowed.

“The final rules require the axe-throwing areas to have barriers to keep them separate from designated consumption areas and to prevent axes from traveling outside of those areas.”


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