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Washington State Initiatives Aim to Change Liquor Market Landscape


Washington State Liquor Store Election time is fast approaching and the citizens of Washington State are being faced with two initiatives to get the state out of the liquor industry. The one that has received the most press, Initiative 1100, was backed heavily by Costco Wholesale of Issaquah, Washington who has previously lost court battles to be able to distribute alcohol through their own distribution channels, basically disbands the three-tier system. There is also Initiative 1105, which would close state liquor stores and license private parties to sell and distribute spirits. I-1105 has been backed solely by two existing distributors in Washington, Odom Corporation and Young’s Market Company (K&L Beverage Company).

Both initiatives got much more than the required amount of signatures needed to place it on the ballot, so it is of no surprise that the citizens of Washington feel the state needs to abandon their stranglehold on the hard liquor industry. But word on the street is that I-1100 will also affect wine and beer distribution and give big retailers, restaurants, and bars the leg up on getting volume discounts, which are not currently allowed under state law. I-1100 aims to replace some 39 laws on the books with new ones, while modifying others.

Click for the full text of Initiative 1100 [pdf].

Click for the full text of Initiative 1105 [pdf].

If either, or both, of these initiatives pass it could most definitely have a trickle down effect to other states. As Election Day gets closer, eyes will most certainly be on the outcome of this battle over booze laws and how it plays out afterwards.


  1. Erin | Saturday, August 14, 2010

    I don’t know how I feel about this one. In Washington you can find all kinds of craft spirits at the state run liquor stores. I’ve noticed here in California that the availability sucks because most of the liquor comes from chains. You have to drive 30 miles for even a meager selection and I can’t even find spirits from Petaluma even though there is a craft distillery 2 miles away. I don’t know about the tax reprocussions, but the ramifications on flavor could be severe.

  2. Rick | Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Yeah, there is that part, but also the affect on beer. Plus the pro side keeps saying that even though the state reports a loss of revenue from privatization, they can just hike the taxes to make up for it. Great. I’m still undecided, but as a once ardent supporter of 1100, I’m starting to be a little more cautious.

  3. Washington State Elections: A Fundamental Change for Alcohol Laws? | On Reserve | Monday, October 4, 2010

    […] Liquor?; Voters Brace for Liquor Battle; Expensive Battle Brewing Over Washington Liquor Sales; Washington State Initiatives Aim to Change Liquor Market Landscape; and Booze Initiatives Aren’t Just About State Liquor […]

  4. June | Monday, September 19, 2011

    Collecting more taxes does not seem feesible since the State Legislature is not in a mood to do so. What about the profit that the private sector will make. This will come from the State and perhaps peoples pensions, medical and the school districts will suffer more.

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