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Oct 31

I-1183: No liquor for Mom & Pop!

Most neighborhood Mom & Pop wine and beer stores are too small and too near grocery chains to sell liquor, according to Washington Initiative 1183.

I-1183 prevents you from getting Rogue spirits from your local beer shop

Beer drinkers know top-notch breweries like Rogue Ales and Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales are getting into distilled products. And they’re asking their local shopkeepers for these spirits.

However under current law, only state-run and stores contracted with the state can carry liquor.
Will I-1183 allow these local businesses to offer a few shelves of spirits? No.

I-1183 prevents neighborhood wine and beer shops from carrying liquor.

Initiative 1183 specific language that excludes most metropolitan and suburban shops from carrying liquor simply due to the size of their store and availability of liquor at nearby larger businesses.

Stores, like 99 Bottles, are excluded from carrying full portfolios, limited only to beer, cider and wine offerings. The shop is 8,655 square feet too small to qualify to sell liquor, according to I-1183.

Why the 10,000 square foot store size requirement to sell liquor under I-1183? Does a smaller store makes a business more irresponsible? Are they afraid of a little competition from smaller shops?
Why the exclusion?

Don’t exclude your local Mom & Pop shops; cast a vote against I-1183.

I’m for privatization of liquor, but I’m voting No on I-1183. I’m a small business owner. I’m for small business. I’m for the entrepreneurs. I’m for the community. I’m telling Costco No because I want laws that don’t just benefit big business.

4 comments

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  1. Mari S

    Did I miss something here? Small stores can’t sell liquor now, so I’m not sure I understand what “mom and pops” lose under this scenario. If anything, the state liquor stores compete favorably in the wine sales game — with them gone, real business people (not government pretend business people) can begin to set prices without an unfair government competitor.

    Furthermore, I read the initiative. The current state-run liquor store locations can be taken over by private owners and do not have to meet the square foot requirement. So, an entrepreneur wanting to set up a specialty alcohol store with high-end wine, spirits, and beer, will have opportunities to do so. Not many people have talked about it, so I was surprised to learn about it, but it’s in the initiative and it’s one of the reasons that I’m voting yes.

    1. Tiffany

      It is true: Small wine & beer stores can’t sell liquor now. However, with the approval of I-1183 these businesses won’t be able to branch into liquors, which are already requested by their customers. Why not? Simply due to restrictions on the square footage of their retail establishments (Page 2, I-1183).

      It is true: The current state-run stores “will be sold by auction to the public” by June 1, 2013, and the new business owner may “apply for a liquor license” (Page 4, I-1183). However, a small business owner wanting to open a liquor boutique shop, not purchase an existing state store, is not given the option to do so under I-1183. If approved, there will be little-to-no entrepreneurial opportunities for boutique liquor stores — good-bye liquor boutique shops, hello corporate liquor!

  2. Devon

    I’m confused, when did 99 Bottles want to get into liquor as a matter of fact, when did any beer or wine store want to sell liquor? To be honest if i want to get liquor i’ll go to a liquor store.

    1. Tiffany

      I’d like to have the opportunity to carry brewery line-ups, which include distilled spirits. I-1183 shoots down the possibility of that ever happening.

      But I’m also opposed to I-1183 due to the detrimental affects of removing the protections of the three-tier system (page 40, I-1183). The three-tier system places all alcohol retailers on an equal playing field; the removal of it will cause a lot of fallout. We will see brands disappear and some fail entirely. Some say “survival of the fittest.” I have some agreement with this statement, but I also know that we will never have the negotiating power or the credit line of a corporation.

      Going to a liquor store for liquor… If I-1183 passes, the 170 some contract liquor stores (privately owned, state regulated) will be able to continue. Over 300 state-owned stores will be sold at auction; some may continue to sell liquor, others may be turned into other businesses. Likely you’ll find yourself picking up liquor at a grocery store, taking time to discover which stores carry the brands you prefer — or choosing their store brands such as “Albertson’s Vodka.” In time, we’ll have more corporations showing up to sell liquor, such as BevMo. If big liquor/wine/beer retailers locate too near to local beer & wine retailers, shops like ours will likely be forced to close.

      We shall see how it all pans out: Survival of the fittest? Survival of the biggest?

      I’m not against privatization of liquor. I’m against how I-1183 goes about it. The wording is not friendly toward small business.

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