WA Costco Attempt Defeated

Washington State Brewers Guild help fight measure

Voters in Washington State have rejected Initiative 1100, which was financed largely by Costco and would have allowed grocery stores and other retailers to sell liquor.

The Washington Brewers Guild was opposed to the measure due to concerns over access to market issues.

Voters also killed a competing measure from liquor distributors, Initiative 1105, with 64 percent opposed.

Besides closing state stores, I-1100 would have dismantled regulations that keep retailers from getting price discounts. Both measures could have led to more than 3,000 stores selling liquor in Washington, compared to 325 now, the state Auditor’s Office estimated. In addition, the state’s Office of Financial Management estimated $51 million to $146 million a year in lost annual revenue to state and local governments.


  1. Jephro says

    I do understand the concern some brewers had with the measure as the state has some control over how, and for how much beer is sold. This is why the Brewers Guild came out against the measure which actually caused some members to drop their membership. 1100 and 1105 may not have been the best way to modernize the way this state handles liquor, especially considering Cosco obviously had their own interest (profits) in mind and i very much dobut they care about the Craft Brewer.

    …BUT having moved here from Missouri where you can buy liquor at grocery stores, at gas stations, where distributors sell and deliver liquor to bars and restaurants, where a liquor license is a liquor license I personally think it is asinine the way this state handles liquor sales. For those of you not familiar with Washington, the only place you can buy liquor is at State run WSLCB (Wa State Liquor Control Board) stores, a few independent stores that were grandfathered in, and bars (“Taverns” can only sell beer and wine).


    I have a laundry list of complaints but I will try to keep it to the big ones:
    – Bars/Restaurants have to call in orders to the WSLCB store and send an employee to go pick up the liquor order with a cashiers check in hand
    – There are not many stores and they (most) are not very convenient
    – Some stay open until 10 or 11 on Friday and Saturday nights
    – Some are open on Sunday.. until 5
    – Some are open on holidays

    – If someone wants liquor when the stores are closed the only option is to go to a bar, and presumably drive to that bar and then back home rather than being able to run to Safeway or 7 Eleven and drink at home.
    – The State claims there would be lost revenue and granted some state liquor employees could loose their jobs but it would also create jobs with distributors and independent stores.
    – Liquor Reps
    – Delivery Drivers
    – Liquor department managers
    – Creation of new small Private Liquor Stores which would need employees
    **Granted Wa has no income tax so the state has no financial motive to create new jobs

    Okay, sorry had to get that out. Yes, I am a Craft Brewer. But I enjoy a good whiskey with my IPA too, that’s the Irish and the Southern boy in me, and don’t think that I should have to buy it from the State Government….

  2. Jephro says

    Scott M wrote: Does liquor in Washington carry a State Tax Stamp? Perhaps the State liquor stores don’t want the competition!! I know they have increased the Beer tax from $8.080 per barrel to $23.58 per barrel at the high rate and the low rate remains at $4.782 per barrel. http://liq.wa.gov/rules/Fact%20Sheet%20–%20Beer%20Tax%20(%20Final)%204-29-10.pdf

    I do not believe that liquor has a state stamp… but not for sure on that. The iniatives would have closed all state liquor stores, if i recall correctly, too.

  3. Swordboarder says

    The reason the Guild came out against it was more to do with the additional changes to the three tiered system. It would have legalized slotting fees in grocery stores and pay to play in bars, among other issues. The feeling of the Guild was that it would increase the cost to small brewers and keep them out of the market. Some members disagreed, feeling that this sort of thing went on anyway, just behind closed doors. These brewers felt it would be easier to bring the whole thing back into the open.