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Saturday, December 17, 2011

OLCC is on the run after Washington vote

All of a sudden Oregon's backwoods state booze monopoly says it's going to sell beer and wine in some of its liquor stores, and let some hard stuff be sold in some grocery stores. The bureaucrats, of course, will tell us which ones.

Nice try, but the whole state "control" thing needs to be dismantled, just as it has been in Washington State. Oh wait, this isn't about the Washington deal:

"The market is expanding – a lot more different products are out there than we had a few years ago," said Steve Pharo, OLCC director. "We need to make sure the customers have those opportunities. So you need slightly larger stores to have those opportunities."

He said the proposal would require liquor stores to move to a bigger and better location if they want to sell beer and wine, and it would not allow grocery stores that are near a liquor store the chance to take on hard alcohol sales. He said the proposed move is not in direct response to Washington state’s decision.

"Some people may think that, but we started this whole process almost two years ago," said Pharo.

It's that refreshing honesty that endears Salem to us so deeply.

Comments (18)

An obvious defensive move. Sadly, the most believable part is state agencies could be spending more than two years planning such a simple change.

Anyone know when the Washington law kicks in? Is the state going to challenge it? My liquor cabinet is getting pretty thin thinking that it will be January 1.

The state needs to get out of the liquor business entirely, and I really hope something will be on the ballot ASAP!

It seems nothing gets done in this state until 74% are against the opposite viewpoint of some bureaucratic position....and ten years have passed.

I've been told by certain authorities that my business needs to be treated with caution because it may be seen as promoting alcohol consumption. That's from the folks who are actually in the business of selling the stuff. Ya gotta love it.

A company like Costco or someone with deep pockets has to spend some money to get a ballot measure out there to abolish the OLCC. I have little doubt it would pass easily, no matter what sort of nonsense arguements the OLCC and the State would try to use to defeat it.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday we were in one of those Washington State Liquor Stores to get a bottle of rum for egg nogs. What a depressing place - a horrid,small selection and absurd prices. Worst of all the three fiftyish clerks were whining the whole time about being out of a job soon.
I guess they will find out what their real worth is in the job market is when the store closes. And they can kiss that fat state pension goodbye as well..

I guess they will find out what their real worth is in the job market is when the store closes. And they can kiss that fat state pension goodbye as well..

In WA, are liquor stores are operated by the state? In OR, the stores are franchised, but the employees work for the franchisee.

Retail monopolists "regulated" by highly compensated bureaucrats are willing to say or do anything to save their jobs?

Color me shocked.

Anyone know when the Washington law kicks in? Is the state going to challenge it? My liquor cabinet is getting pretty thin thinking that it will be January 1.

Per this article, you are correct. Party on.

I read it too fast - it's June 1. Sorry.

"I read it too fast - it's June 1. Sorry."

Thank you for the update. Looks like it is going to be a dry Spring.

These things take time; change is incremental (except for the really important stuff, like kitchen slop buckets).

Anybody remember walking into a grocery store on a Sunday and finding the entire meat department darkened and devoid of product? Good times....

Some stores are run by franchise like Oregon does, but most liquor stores in Washington state are run by the state and employees are in fact full state employees. The union which represents them recently sued the state over their impending layoff. It will be interesting to watch, because depending on their union contract the state may be out a whole lot in severance pay.

Palm Springs area grocery store advertised prices:
Absolute Vodka, or DeWars White label scotch, 1.75ltr, $25.99
Gray Goose Vodka, 750ml, $24.99
Crown Royal whiskey, 1.75ltr, $17.99 (6 or more, $16.20 mix or match)
Sky Vodka, 1.75ltr, $21.99
Kettle One Vodka, 750 ml, $ $17.99 (6 or more, $16.20)
Then there is Costco, equals kid in the Candy store selection and lower prices than the grocery store.
Cocktail hours abound. (Betty Ford Center sits in the heart of it all)

Its interesting to see how much Oregon makes on alcohol markup. On a recent trip to California, I was able to pick up a bottle of Glenfiddich 18 year old scotch for $50 at a small liquor store just off I-5. Same bottle at an Oregon liquor store is $85.

Recently a co worker took a trip to CA. Knowing that prices are cheaper down there he took orders from everyone. The cashier took one look at his haul and asked him if he was from Oregon. That was prior to ringing up a single bottle or seeing his ID.

Californians can thank the OLCC for shooting busines their way. I suspect very shortly Washington will also be able to thank the OLCC.

OLCC is about to see a whole bunch of their business dry up in June 2012 when the WA changes kick in. Vancouver is going to have to build a couple of more Costcos.

I don't know if the OLCC has too much to worry about with the changes in Washington. The Washington liquor taxes are higher than Oregon, and for the most part the changes that take effect in June won't lower the cost much if at all. Now once the state stores are gone, Costco can come back and try to reduce/remove some of the taxes. When people see prices didn't drop like they wanted they will be ready to lower the taxes. (Costco just knew they couldn't get it to pass if they did both at the same time.)

Have you looked at the Washington tax code? It looks horribly complicated, and there is tax after tax after tax... (Almost like we need a little more money, lets just add another liquor tax.)

Now if Costco puts a ballot measure on to eliminate the OLCC, then we can start to make some real progress.

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