Liquor Privatization

The grocery industry is calling it quits on a potential ballot measure that would have privatized liquor sales in Oregon. Currently, hard liquor like whiskey, vodka and gin can only be sold in state-chartered stores.

Grocers want to be able to sell it along with their current selections of beer and wine, but the industry group behind the effort said Wednesday they won't collect any more signatures for the initiative.

The privatization of retail liquor sales in Washington state has delivered a sustained boost to the state liquor divisions in neighboring Idaho and Oregon.

A group funded by the grocery industry filed an initiative petition Wednesday that would allow Oregonians to buy liquor in most grocery stores.

Hard alcohol is much more convenient to buy in Washington these days.

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

Chris Lehman

Oregon grocery store owners want to sell hard liquor, just like their counterparts in Washington do. There’s a liquor privatization initiative in the works for this November. But Oregon lawmakers are considering changes of their own as a possible way to head off the ballot measure.

Oregon voters could have the chance to follow Washington's lead next year when it comes to liquor sales.

The Washington State Patrol has compiled a full year of data covering drunk driving arrests and crashes since private retailers took over liquor sales in the state.

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.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Statewide liquor sales in Washington are up since privatization took effect in June. But business is down dramatically at some former state-owned liquor stores.

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