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Washington Liquor Prices WILL Rise with Privatization


When most of us voted yes on Initiative 1183 last Fall, we had the picture in our head that by getting the state out of the liquor business, it would lead to lower hard alcohol prices and more convenience as we can buy the hard alcohol at our local grocery store.  Well, turns out, lower alcohol prices will not be the case.

According to recent article by Shannon Dininny of the AP, the prices will rise by at least $11 a bottle!  No joke.  I personally saw the prices on the shelf at the West Side Rosauers.  Here’s part of Shannon’s article:

“The state’s current charge for a 750-ml bottle of Absolut Citron Vodka: $22.95. That price includes all fees and taxes.
The distributor’s price per bottle for a case of the same product: $18.27. Then add in an industry-average 20 percent markup for the retailer to cover costs and make a profit — this will vary by store — and a 17 percent fee required under the initiative to recoup lost revenue to the state, a 20.5 percent retail sales tax and a $2.83 liter tax. Price per bottle: $33.74.”  Almost $11 more per bottle!

Costco will probably be your best bet for the better priced hard alcohol as they can negotiate volume discounts and sell their own labels.

Speaking of which, I called a good friend of mine who works for Costco Corporate about the Costco brand vodka they will be selling (and is currently being sold in some Costco stores in other states)…  the Costco brand vodka IS bottled in the Grey Goose bottling factory.  So the stuff is good quality and tastes great.  It is worth noting that the Costco brand vodka IS NOT Grey Goose, but similar, just a little sweeter.   The Costco brand vodka will be available at a reduced rate as they avoid the distributor fee’s.

So what can we take away from this?  If you want to avoid paying the $11 more per bottle at the grocery store, head to Costco and buy bulk.  I don’t really regret voting yes on I-1183 as the convenience of having the hard alcohol at the grocery store is still there, we’ll just be paying a premium for it.


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