Washington State privatized liquor sales begin June 1st

Washington State privatized liquor sales begin June 1st
CLARKSTON, WA - For the first time in decades starting on Friday, the State of Washington will no longer control liquor sales.

For Washington residents, Friday means the end of a system where liquor sales are regulated by the state. Stores that meet the 10,000 square foot retail space regulation like Albertsons and Costco will stock spirits on their shelves next to wine and beer.

Local law enforcement will be cracking down on liquor sales to minors, but Clarkston Police Chief Joel Hastings doesn't think the coming changes will make much of a difference.

"I don't anticipate any major challenges, most of the stores that are going to be selling beer and liquor currently sell beer and wine," said Hastings. "There is nothing that is leading me to believe that they are not going to be in compliance when they've been in compliance in the past."

Costco Senior Vice President Joel Benoliel said the company is happy the State no longer has a monopoly.

"In any commodity, and when you come right down to it spirits is just a commodity," said Benoliel. "When the state controls it, the consuming public loses. The absence of competition always means restrictions on the breadth of supply and higher pricing."

However Benoliel also said prices aren't going to be as competitive as you would see in California because taxes for liquor, which were put in place by the state, were not touched in the initiative. About 27% of the cost will go to back to Washington. As far as competitive pricing amongst stores, Benoliel predicts costs to fluctuate over time, and not initially.

Hastings also said they'll be working with the Washington State Liquor Control Board to make sure no stores sell to minors. He said a hefty fine and loss of liquor license is possible for any company that breaks the law.