Privatization of Liquor in Washington

Immense changes came to Washington State on June 1…a binary transition from state liquor stores to an odd system dominated by past locations of the state liquor stores and new competition from large grocery stores and mega-liquor retailers (10,000 sq ft is the bar).  No mini-marts.

We celebrate mint julep season, but must admit that we don’t use bourbon, but rather Tennessee sour mash, aka Jack Daniels #7.  And so my primary basis of comparison is a handle (1.75 liters) of JD7.

In my last transaction at a state-run liquor store (mid-May), I paid $53.80 for a handle.  I next purchased one at Snohomish Top Foods early in June and with tax it was $58.64.  Visiting California in early June, only $33.86.  (Son Mark makes an excellent point:  he’d rather pay $58 per handle than his 10% income tax.)    But still if I apply all the Washington taxes to the California price JD#7 should be in the low $40s.

Now open “Total Wine and More”.  Base price $27.99, with taxes added $40.93.  Checked QFC when picking up bagels today and they have collapsed down to ~$48 total.  Took a month, but the benefits of the initiative are now appearing.

(Noted later…it was even less expensive when I visited than the web price.  Base price $25.99, with taxes added $38.44.  More than $20 better than at Top Foods, now Haggen).

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