Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber says he has concerns about proposals to allow grocery stores to sell hard liquor.

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.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

As of June 1, it will be one year since grocers, big box stores and other private retailers started selling liquor in Washington state. The voter approved privatization initiative has sent prices unexpectedly higher. Also, the government is collecting more tax revenue than anticipated.

Small Stores Could Sell Liquor In Rural Washington

Mar 13, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Liquor Control Board is proposing a rule to allow small private liquor shops, but only if they are located at least 20 miles from the nearest retailer selling spirits. The draft rule unveiled Wednesday would clarify one part the voter-approved law privatizing liquor sales in Washington.

Washington Liquor Sales Up Over Last Year

Dec 4, 2012
Decatur Wine & Spirits / Wikimedia Commons

There’s new data on the affect of liquor privatization in Washington. According to new numbers released Tuesday that capture the first four months of private liquor sales, sales by volume were up between June and September nearly 3 percent over the same period last year.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The privatization of liquor sales in Washington this year is having an unintended side effect: increasing theft of booze. In Olympia Friday, lawmakers quizzed top managers of the state Liquor Control Board.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Liquor sales in Washington are up – way up. That’s according to new figures out Monday on the period after the state’s new privatization law took effect. They show July’s retail sales increased 21 percent over the previous year. And that’s despite higher prices on spirits.

Washington Liquor Prices Up 17% Over Last Year

Aug 14, 2012
Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington liquor prices were 17 percent higher on average in June, compared to the same month a year ago. The state Department of Revenue says sales declined in the first month private retailers could sell spirits in Washington. The drop is partially a result of bars and restaurants stocking their shelves in May.

The shift to private liquor sales in Washington is affecting some 1,200 state employees. But they’re not all out of a job. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins checked in on how workers at one former state liquor store are doing under new system.

Washington Hands Off Liquor Sales To Private Sector

Jun 1, 2012
Photo by Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Washington is witnessing a major shift in a multi-million dollar business. Starting Friday, hard liquor will be right there on the shelf at supermarkets, big box stores and privately-run liquor shops. It’s Day One of a new voter-passed law that takes Washington liquor sales out of the hands of the state.

Oregon lawmakers may consider a similar proposal next year and it could affect liquor sales along Idaho’s north-western border. We sent correspondent Jessica Robinson out to see how a government-run industry goes private.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Washington retailers are getting ready for the 78 year old state monopoly on liquor sales to end this Friday. It’s not yet clear what privatization will do to the price of alcohol in Washington. One entity with a big stake in the matter … is the state of Idaho.

Some of Idaho’s most profitable state-run liquor stores just happen to be along its Northwestern border.

Jared Tatro: “And when we went up to visit those stores, we look at IDs, we’re looking at license plates,  they’re coming from Washington.”

Washington State Sells Off Final 18 Liquor Stores

May 25, 2012

Earlier this month the State auctioned off the rights to sell liquor in their current stores. 167 licenses were sold, but 18 buyers fell through. Bidders either couldn’t come up with all the money, or struggled to work out lease conditions for the retail space. Thursday, a live auction sold the remaining 18 stores. Lesley McClurg reports.

SPOKANE -- The state liquor board visits Spokane Monday for a hearing about the hours of alcohol sales. SPR’s Paige Browning tells us some think 2:00 am is too early to shut off the taps.

Photo Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Washington restaurateurs are preparing for a new option that begins March first: They’ll be able to buy liquor directly from distilleries and out-of-state distributors. It’s one part of the new roll out of Initiative 1183, passed by voters in November. As correspondent Anna King reports, Some restaurants are waiting to see how the new marketplace shapes up, others are aggressively hunting down deals.