Liqour Privatization

A Hood River distillery has the top selling brand of liquor according to sales numbers released by the state of Oregon. But other craft distillers say those hot numbers don’t reflect their experience.

Photo credit: Wikimedia user O'Dea / Wikimedia Commons

The state of Washington is preparing for a seismic shift this week in the way people buy liquor. A similar transition from state-controlled alcohol sales is not yet on the horizon in Oregon. But some in the industry hope that will change.

Washington voters initially rejected the idea of turning control of hard liquor sales over to the private sector. But last fall, an initiative to do just that passed by a wide margin after an expensive advertising campaign by Costco.

The retail giant isn't planning a similar ballot run in Oregon this year. Instead, grocery industry lobbyist Joe Gilliam says retailers will try their hand at convincing the Oregon legislature first. And he says the industry will simply point north for an example of what happens when lawmakers don't compromise.

Photo credit: Austin Jenkins] / Northwest News Network

Washington state has auctioned off its liquor stores. And private retailers are set to take over the sale of spirits June 1st. But Thursday the state Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit aimed at putting a halt to the changeover.