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I-1183 Puts Liquor Stores Out Of Business…What’s Next?

alcohol bottles
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Now that Washington voters have approved getting the state out of the liquor store business, what happens next?  Don’t expect it to show up next week, or even next month, at your favorite store.

According to the language in the bill, 164 state liquor stores will be closed by June 1st, 2012.    159 other state contracted stores may apply for a liquor liscense and remain in business if they choose.  Private retainers and distributors can now apply to get licenses.   March 1 2012 distributors may start selling hard liquor, retailers such as CostCo,  June 1st.   As for the claim by opponents that such alcohol will be found in convenience stores, not true.   This bill only applies to buildings or businesses who are 10,000 square feet or larger.  The only way a smaller venue, such as a convenience store, can sell hard alcohol, is if no other venue 10k or larger is available in the nearby “trade area.”  The Liquor Control Board will have to define what is a trade area, and how large it is.    Also, price drops will probably occur.  The state markup was 52%…probably half of that will disapper, as the markup for private businesses who get a license will be 27%.

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