In Washington state there is a big push on right now to get the state liquor laws changed, to allow retailers like Costco, and other grocery stores, to be able to purchase liquor in bulk at a discount and to process those orders through its central store or warehouse. Currently, there is no bulk buying discount for retailers and Costco has to purchase wine and beer separately for each of its Washington locations.
Costco decided to support Initiative 1100 because the Company believes it bests serves the interests of its members, and consumers in general, by providing them greater choices in their purchasing options and allowing them to benefit from efficiencies that the private sector and competition can bring to the sale of liquor, wine and beer.
Costco has donated more than $530,000.00 to Modernize Washington in an effort to get Initiative 1100 put on the upcoming November ballot. Initiative 1100 would allow businesses that currently sell beer and wine to also sell spirits and would eliminate price controls and allow for volume discounts. The proposal would give retailers more freedom in how they purchase and sell beer and wine, as well as spirits. The initiative would also take away “tied house” rules restricting cross-ownership of alcohol producers, distributors and merchants, which have regulated alcohol sales in many states since the end of Prohibition in 1933. Other groups supporting the proposal include the Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Restaurant Association. Opponents of the measure say price controls and other regulations minimize alcohol abuse and related problems such as domestic violence.
Earlier this month 26 Costco locations in Washington were taking part in a petition drive to acquire the necessary signatures to get Initiative 1100 put on the November ballot. Costco CEO, Jim Sinegal, said that they felt that they had an adequate number of signatures after just 16 days, so they are no longer taking signatures. They need 242,000 verifiable signatures by July 2, to ensure that it makes the November ballot. Sharon Gilpin, a political consultant who put together the initiative, said she hopes to collect as many as 300,000 signatures to ensure a “cushion.”
Costco’s swift signature-collection effort is a sign “the electorate agree that liquor sales should be privatized,” Sinegal said. “It’s a validation of our position and their trust in Costco.”
For more information: