Washington State Voters Throw Out State Controlled Liquor Sales
On November 8, 2011, Costco and other big retailers successfully convinced Washington State voters to approve Initiative 1183. This will end the State’s long time monopoly on liquor sales. The new law will privatize liquor sales and leave the State in an enforcement mode only. Those who favored approval of the Initiative contend that moving liquor sales to the private sector will create competition and benefit consumers who will be able to have a greater selection at very competitive pricing. The State is now required to sell off its central warehouse and inventory and auction off over 300 stores, about half of which are state-run. Contractors who operate the other stores must buy back the inventory in order to continue their business. Private sales of liquor are scheduled for June 1, 2012. As a result of the Initiative approval, retailers in Washington State such as Costco will be able to seek volume discounts for wine and warehouse their products themselves.