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.