167 Liquor Stores Up For Auction OnlineBy: Lee Hester - March 9, 2012
It won’t be on eBay, but this online auction is getting much attention in the Pacific Northwest. An online auction was launched yesterday for 167 state-run liquor stores in Washington State. Thanks to voters who passed the initiative last November, the auction will be the first by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. The state is also the first to privatize its state-run liquor business since the 1930s and Prohibition. In 2011, gross liquor sales for the state was over $888 million.
Speaking for the Washington State Liquor Control Board, Brian Smith said, “What’s being auctioned today will allow interested parties rights to apply for a liquor license at current location. You’re buying the right to apply for a liquor license and then purchase the right to sell at that location.”
An interesting part of the initiative explains that If you’re a grocery store or big box store with over 10,000 square feet of space you do not have to bid. Not surprising to many residents since Washington-based warehouse chain Costco was a large financial supporter of the initiative donating the majority of $23 million spent (Washington’s single donor contribution record for a state initiative) to capture 59% of the approval votes needed for the measure to pass.