Liquor Laws

Spirits and Washington State: Here Come the Ads Again

Get ready for familiar arguments for and against liquor privatization.

By Jessica Voelker September 8, 2011

As you have likely heard by now, Costco’s back with a new initiative, I-1183, aimed at kicking the state out of the booze business.

In the new privatization plan, only retailers larger than 10,000 square feet would be eligible to sell spirits. Licensed private distributors would take over the state-run system, paying the state 10 percent of their gross spirit revenues in their first two years of operation and five percent after that. Retail outlets and distribution facilities would be auctioned off to private bidders.

Like Costco’s 2010 initiative I-1100, I-1183 also proposes removing the ban on bulk discounts currently imposed on wineries and wine retailers.

And between now and November, when we vote yay or nay on I-1183, we can plan to see a lot of advertisements from both sides. The cons, who reportedly just received $3.6 million from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, are taking the public safety approach again this year. Not surprising, considering last year’s effective use of ambulances and hell-raising teenagers in the campaign against I-1100 and its frenemy privatization proposal, I-1105.

Expect extensive coverage of this sticky spirits situation here on Sauced. Meantime, enjoy the ad, one of the first in what is certain to be a barrage of misleading messages on both sides of the issue.

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