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3 comments

  1. brendan

    The number of people who misunderstand the ramifications of I1183 depress the heck out of me – this hits it on the head. I1183 is awesome if you want to drink Blue Moon or Bud Light purchased at your local mega-mart, and terrible if you support independent brewers and buy their product at independent retailers. I hope to God it doesn’t pass…

  2. eric

    I understand your fear, but that is what it is – fear. Sadly, our legislature refuses to act in so many ways that we’re left to legislation via initiative. I don’t like it, but that’s how it is.

    Do you really think Boundary Bay, Silver City, HUB, or any other beer that matters is going to start strong-arming small retailers?

    Do you think Costco cares about these brands? Do you think your target audience buys beer from Costco?

    The state needs to get out of the liquor retailing. Once that has been put in place, there’s always time to tweak laws.

    And, hey, don’t worry, the legislature has a habit of overturning citizen (or in this case, admittedly, business) initiatives. So even when this passes, it will never see the light of day.

    I find your comment on choice very interesting – have you ever been to a store that stocks liquor in California? Do you think we have choice in this state? Right now, the state determines what brands are carried in the state (a potential roadblock to startup distilleries). Do we really need state bureaucrats determining selection? Not to mention the crappy hours, crappy service, and overinflated prices to support said bureaucracy.

    You’ll be fine. Relax and enjoy a beer!

    1. Tiffany

      Fear or fact? It is fact that removal of the three tier system will have serious implications for a business such as ours. Just because bad things result for small business and consumers doesn’t mean “fear.” I see the writing on the wall very clearly. I’m not afraid of it. I am concerned that people don’t understand the full implications of a yes vote. There has been little about this in the media. Much of the no campaign has been focused on the scare tactics of underage drinking. I-1183 isn’t only about liquor and state control, it will affect your wine and beer. I’ve read the initiative multiple times, considering the impacts it has on a business like mine and on my customers, fellow beer enthusiasts.

      Our business carries over 3,000 SKUs of beer on the books, many of these brands are also carried at Safeway, Costco, Wal*Mart, Whole Foods, and other corporate chains. We are able to effectively compete with these larger businesses on retail price because we pay the same wholesale price. We are able to maintain product freshness because we bring in small amounts at a time, storing in beer-friendly temperatures under UV filtered lights.

      With the passage of I-1100, corporations will have the purchase advantage under bulk sales statutes. They will be able to amass and store in central warehouses. What does this mean to the beer consumer? You may be able to get certain brands cheaper at corporations, but it could be old and improperly stored. And if you’re a beer drinker, I’m sure you realize that most craft beers have no bottling or best-by dates on the labels. Corporations are left to themselves to control quality. (Currently the middle tier, distributors, regularly check stock for freshness.) Standard pricing will likely increase as breweries who focus on “sustainable operations” must give discounts to corporations who purchase in bulk; this means increased pricing to businesses like mine. It’s not a case of “strong-arming,” it’s a case of following laws and being on the short end of the stick — simply because voters are (unknowingly) catering to corporations.

      Yes, our audience buys beer from Costco. They also buy from Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Top Foods, Whole Foods, and I can name a dozen other chains. Let’s be real: People shop where and when it is convenient for them. We do everything we can to remain innovative, competitive, and offer a pleasant shopping environment. Costco’s business model is focused more on “large” and “quick turn;” they have business-to-business centers that could potentially act as a distribution center for products we carry. We have many Costco customers coming to us to buy single bottles to try, before they buy full cases at the center across the street. We have good relationships with Costco customers and many Costco employees shop at our business. Our competition is all around us, and right now we’re all on the same playing field: unilateral pricing, unilateral reporting, unilateral delivery, unilateral storage (in store). Why are voters intent on giving the corporations more control? People respond with, “free market,” but I-1183 is not free-market focused, it’s focused on giving retailers with 10,000 square feet and larger spaces the advantage with liquor. Further, I-1183 removes the three tiers of protection — protection of tax collection (state), protection of pricing and availability (retailer), protection of pricing and quality (consumer). Plain and simple. Black and white.

      As for choice, yes, choice will be affected. Some brands will sign exclusive distribution contracts with corporations and will no longer make their product available to other retailers. Multiple brands transported into the state on single vehicles will begin to disappear as larger brands shift to other retailers who are now able to act as both distributor and retailer. There will be fallout. We don’t know which brands will be affected. Time will tell.

      Large liquor chains, such as BevMo, already have plans to open in Washington should I-1183 pass. That’s smart business. We’re doing our part to operate smart — identifying possible business model changes to remain viable should a large liquor chain locate too nearby, educating people on how the three-tier system works (so they can make educated voting decisions, not just base the vote on “I want cheap liquor.”). I-1183 is about a lot more than ceasing “state control” of liquor. It’s about giving advantage to corporations.

      Support your community. Vote no on I-1183.

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