Liquor sales rebound in months after privatization

January 1, 2013

Consumers stockpiled spirits in May, leading to a June sales slump, but in the months since private liquor sales started, spirit sales rebounded, state revenue officials reported Dec. 4.

The state Department of Revenue said spirit sales by volume increased 2.9 percent between June and September from the same period a year earlier.

Retailers sold almost 13.6 million liters of spirits from June through September, compared to the 13.2 million liters sold at state-run liquor stores during the same period a year earlier.

Read more

Liquor sales rebound in months after privatization

December 6, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Dec. 6, 2012

Consumers stockpiled spirits in May, leading to a Junes sales slump, but in the months since private liquor sales started, spirit sales rebounded, state revenue officials reported Tuesday.

The state Department of Revenue said spirit sales by volume increased 2.9 percent between June and September from the same period a year earlier.

Retailers sold almost 13.6 million liters of spirits from June through September, compared to the 13.2 million liters sold at state-run liquor stores during the same period a year earlier.

Sales spiked in May as consumers prepared for the transition from state stores to private retailers, and then declined in June, presumably due to the inventories built up in May.

Read more

Liquor sales increase statewide after June slump

October 2, 2012

Retailers sold more liquor in July than state stores sold a year earlier, according to data from the state Department of Revenue released Sept. 10.

In July, sales by volume increased 15.4 percent over July 2011 sales, after declining 9.4 percent for June and rising 26.6 percent in May.

Sales spiked in May as consumers prepared for the transition from state stores to private retailers, and then declined in June, presumably due to the inventories built up in May.

Overall, Washingtonians purchased 10.6 million liters of spirits in May, June and July, compared to 9.5 million liters for the same period last year.

The average price paid for spirits increased 16.2 percent in July compared to 17.2 percent in June.

Washingtonians voted to privatize liquor sales by passing Costco-backed Initiative 1183 last year.

Retailers challenge liquor privatization process

July 3, 2012

Issaquah-based Costco and other supporters of liquor privatization filed a lawsuit challenging the way the state implemented the law.

Costco, joined by the Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Restaurant Association, filed the suit June 21 — 20 days after private retailers started selling spirits, ending a decades-old state monopoly on liquor sales.

Washington Liquor Control Board officials said the agency is confident in the rules drafted to implement the liquor privatization measure, Initiative 1183. Board officials said the rule-making process remained open and transparent.

Costco — the largest employer in Issaquah — led the push to pass I-1183 last year. Statewide, almost 60 percent of voters supported the liquor-privatization measure.

The measure limits hard liquor sales to stores of at least 10,000 square feet.

The lawsuit is the latest case to result from I-1183. The day before the initiative took effect, the state Supreme Court upheld a challenge to the measure.

Trader Joe’s to occupy former Issaquah Commons party store

June 5, 2012

The longtime party store in the Issaquah Commons along Northwest Gilman Boulevard moved the celebration elsewhere last week to make way for Trader Joe’s.

Party @ Display & Costume settled in a space next to Best Buy in the same shopping center as Fred Meyer and The Home Depot along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. The relocated party store opened to customers May 31.

The 60-year-old company also operates stores in Everett and Seattle.

Party @ Display & Costume left a space at the Issaquah Commons near Lane Bryant and Ross Dress for Less to make room for a relocated Trader Joe’s.

The specialty grocer’s existing location in Pickering Place does not meet the 10,000-square-foot threshold for retailers to sell liquor, but the former party store space in the Issaquah Commons offers enough space.

Trader Joe’s is expected to relocate within the next several months.

State Supreme Court upholds liquor privatization initiative

June 5, 2012

The state Supreme Court upheld a liquor privatization initiative May 31, less than 24 hours before the measure enabled liquor sales to expand statewide.

In a 5-4 ruling, justices upheld Initiative 1183, a Costco-backed measure to end the state-run liquor system. Voters approved the measure in November. In April, the state auctioned the rights to private entrepreneurs to sell liquor at former state-run stores.

Opponents said I-1183 violated the single subject rule for statewide ballot initiatives.

In addition to liquor privatization language, the initiative included a requirement for a portion of revenue from liquor license fees to be used to increase funding for local public safety programs, such as police and emergency services.

Plaintiffs argued the “fees” should have been called “taxes” in the ballot language. Such a change could have swayed voters on the initiative, plaintiffs argued.

Read more

State Supreme Court upholds liquor privatization initiative

May 31, 2012

NEW — 10:15 a.m. May 31, 2012

The state Supreme Court upheld a liquor privatization initiative Thursday, a day before the measure goes into effect and liquor sales expand statewide.

In a 5-4 ruling, justices upheld Initiative 1183, a Costco-backed measure to end the state-run liquor system. Voters approved the measure in November and, in April, the state auctioned the rights to private entrepreneurs to sell liquor at former state-run stores.

Opponents said I-1183 violated the single subject rule for statewide ballot initiatives.

In addition to the liquor privatization language, I-1183 included a section directing $10 million to public safety, in addition to the liquor-privatization language.

“The challenged portion of I-1183’s ballot title is not palpably misleading or false,” justices wrote.

Read more

Issaquah liquor store closes before changeover

May 29, 2012

The state-run liquor store in Issaquah closed May 29, as the Washington State Liquor Control Board prepares to shift stores from public to private ownership.

Under a state law approved by voters last year, liquor sales by private entrepreneurs can start June 1.

The board auctioned the rights to entrepreneurs to sell liquor at the state-run store in Town & Country Square along Northwest Gilman Boulevard last month. State records show the right to the Issaquah store sold to Seattle merchant Leon Capelouto for $251,000.

“There is a lot of work involved in transferring these stores to private ownership,” Chris Liu, director of retail services for the liquor authority, said in a statement.

The availability of liquor in Issaquah is poised to expand beyond a single storefront.

Bartell Drugs, Fred Meyer, Front Street Market, Rite Aid, Safeway, Target, QFC, Walgreens and Costco received licenses to sell liquor.

QFC received licenses for the Northwest Gilman Boulevard and Klahanie stores.

Issaquah liquor store to close May 29 before changeover

May 24, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. May 24, 2012

The state-run liquor store in Issaquah is due to close May 29, as the Washington State Liquor Control Board prepares to shift stores from public to private ownership.

Under a state law approved by voters last year, liquor sales by private entrepreneurs can start June 1.

The board auctioned the rights to entrepreneurs to sell liquor at the state-run store in Town & Country Square along Northwest Gilman Boulevard last month. State records show the right to the Issaquah store sold to Seattle merchant Leon Capelouto for $251,000.

“There is a lot of work involved in transferring these stores to private ownership,” Chris Liu, director of retail services for the liquor authority, said in a statement. “This method will ensure that our customers have the ability to buy liquor right up until June 1, when private retailers take over.”

Read more

Supreme Court hears challenge to Costco-backed liquor privatization

May 22, 2012

Opponents of liquor privatization urged state Supreme Court justices May 17 to overturn Initiative 1183, less than a month before the switch from a state-run liquor system to private entrepreneurs.

If the high court overturns the Costco-backed measure, state-run liquor stores could remain open and retailers could not sell spirits. The changeover is scheduled to occur June 1, and a ruling is expected before then.

Opponents said I-1183 violates the single subject rule for statewide ballot initiatives.

In addition to the liquor privatization language, I-1183 included a section directing $10 million to public safety, in addition to the liquor-privatization language.

Read more

Next Page »