Craft Production

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What is craft production?

Craft Production is defined in the Tacoma Municipal Code (TMC) as small-scale on-site production and/or assembly of arts, crafts, foods, beverages or other type of product involving the use of small-scale equipment and/or hand tools.  The use must also adhere to the following:

  • Include a retail/eating/drinking/tasting component that occupies a minimum of 10 percent of usable space, front the street at sidewalk level or have a well-marked and visible entrance at sidewalk level, and remain open to the public.
  • Provide screening and/or buffer landscaping of any outdoor storage areas (if allowed) in accordance with TMC 13.06.090.B.
  • Operate all production, processing and distribution activities within an enclosed building.

Due to the limited scale of activities and small boutique nature, Craft Production establishments are considered commercial uses per zoning and are compatible with retail sales and service uses. Craft Production includes, but is not limited to ceramic art, glass art, candle-making, custom jewelry manufacture, bakeries, confectionaries, butchers, coffee roasting establishments, and food production and beverage production.

A bakery use that primarily involves the use of hand tools and small-scale equipment could be considered Craft Production.

Finding the Right Location

When you’re looking for potential properties to locate your business, make sure the zoning allows the use.  You can check which zoning district you’re in by looking up a zoning map at or call a planner at 253- 591-5030.  Available buildings and properties may also be searched at

Zoning Districts
Allowed Conditional Use Permit

C-1, C-2, HM, PDB

Commercial Districts


NCX, CCX, UCX, RCX, CIX Mixed-Use Districts


M-1, M-2, PMI

Industrial Districts



Downtown Districts

T Transitional Commercial District


Reuse of historic structure and/or site that is listed on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places

Craft Production of Alcohol

Craft wineries, craft breweries, and craft distilleries limited to 5,000 gallons of product per year are considered Craft Production uses.

  • An occupancy that is below an “H” Hazard per the International Building Code (IBC) shall be maintained and not exceeded. Accessory “H” uses are allowed for up to 10% of the site floor area.
  • Retail sale and onsite tasting of beverages and/or the ability for producers to act as wholesaler of its own production for offsite consumption are subject to the appropriate state and local licenses.
  • Individual tenant spaces or units within a building may constitute the site.

Also see the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) at for licensing information.

Food and Beverage Production

The Health Department regulates food and beverage production uses.  It’s recommended to call 253-798-6500 or visit in the preliminary stages of planning your business.

Building Remodel

Businesses locating within an existing building will need to consider potential building upgrades, such as accessible counters, ramps, or restrooms.  See the Tenant Improvement and other applicable Tip Sheets at  Other questions to consider:

  • How old is the building and how was it constructed? What materials were used?
  • Is the building going to be used strictly for manufacturing liquor, or is the general public going to be invited into the building on a regular basis for tastings, tours, classes, and/or retail sales?
  • If the public will have access to the building, would the occupancy of the building be equal to 50 people or more?
  • Would the new craft distillery be more hazardous or intense than the prior use that it is replacing?
  • Does the remodeling of the building exceed 50% of the value of the building?
  • Would this would require a change occupancy classification of the existing building?

Fire Protection

Craft Production may involve hazardous materials or equipment. A City Fire Protection Engineer is available at 253-591-5503 and should be consulted in the early stages of planning.  Questions to consider are:

  • Does the building have an automatic fire sprinkler system?
  • For a craft distillery, if the building does not have an automatic fire sprinkler system, does the amount of alcohol (ethanol – C2H5OH) produced per production batch exceed the Maximum Allowable Quantity which ranges between 30-gallons to 240-gallons of Class IB flammable liquids depending on the actual situation? In general, if the distillery process is a “closed” system as defined by the Fire Code, then you could have up to 60-gallons being processed without a building fire sprinkler system or 120-gallons with one. If the distillery process is an “open” system as defined by the Fire Code, then you could have only up to 30-gallons being processed without a building fire sprinkler system or 60-gallons with one.
  • Is the interior of the building divided into separate fire areas?
  • Contact a private design professional to help you review the adopted International Fire Code in relation to your proposal to determine the major design criteria and develop a scope of work.

Stormwater and Wastewater

Plans for stormwater mitigation and wastewater discharges are reviewed by Environmental Services and they may be reached at 253-591-5760. The following may be applicable to a craft winery, brewery, or distillery:

  • All wastewater discharges shall be in compliance with TMC 12.08.
  • Pretreatment of some waste streams may be required. If a pretreatment permit is required, the processing time for this permit is about 90 days from receipt of a complete application.
  • Depending on materials stored and manufactured at the site, an Accidental Spill Prevention Plan (ASPP) may be required. Spill containment may also be required for certain stored materials.
  • Food service establishments shall be evaluated to determine if grease protection is required.
  • Dumpster pads will require a drain to the sanitary sewer system if wet wastes are placed in the dumpster.
  • Periodic source control inspections of commercial and industrial facilities are conducted by Environmental Services.

Pre-application Requests

When you have a floor plan available, you can submit a pre-application request to confirm your building permit submittal requirements at Planning and Development Services is located on the 3rd floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market Street.

Please provide the following items with your request:

  • Preliminary site plan, floor plan(s), and exterior building elevations or photos
  • Details about the equipment that will be used and any additional desired business operations

Applicable Regulations

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