U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Food and Drink > Alcoholic Beverages
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Closed Thread Start New Thread
 
Old 02-11-2016, 09:47 PM
 
Location: Pahoa Hawaii
2,082 posts, read 4,715,280 times
Reputation: 2766

Advertisements

In Oregon they have the OLCC, which oversees state run liquor stores and bars. The idea is to hold back alcohol consumption and underage drinking. I asked a state store employee if it worked, she told me there were always people waiting for the store to open first thing in the morning to buy a half gallon or more of hard stuff. She said "If they're not drunk, we have to serve them". Works real well.

 
Old 02-13-2016, 12:36 PM
 
3,402 posts, read 4,297,233 times
Reputation: 2403
Quote:
Originally Posted by IslandCityGirl View Post
Not so... Read some literature on the WA state initiative that went from state to private run liquor sales just a few years ago. State income losses were the biggest issue with the changeover. You have to remember that the state-run stores are making retail profits on liquor, not just tax revenues. When you remove all of those retail sales from the state, you have a budget deficit.

As it turned out in WA, the initiative (which was primarily created, backed, and promoted by Costco who, guess what, has a HUGE profit to gain from liquor sales!) actually caused overall selection to go down and prices to go up for the consumer. Only very basic selections exist in supermarkets and big-box places like Costco, whereas the state-run stores (which were fairly conveniently located no matter where you were) managed to carry many more specialty items. We saw prices go up because of higher costs in open-door retailers due to theft potential (state run stores were obviously designed specifically to protect against theft, where you can walk in and out of a grocer with a bottle of who-knows-what down your pants pretty easily), extra security needed, etc., and to account for lost state revenues (increased taxes, passing retailer "licensing fees" along to the consumer...).

Licenses for specialty, private-owned liquor stores were passed out in limited quantities (as a "safety" measure, to monitor distribution of a controlled substance, etc.), so it's a real trek to find a store that carries a satisfying selection of special items.

Here's some insight: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...te-costs-more/

I don't think there's a right way or a wrong way to distribute liquor, but I don't think WA state consumers really gained a whole lot (though Costco did!!!!) by privatizing liquor sales. The trade-off for wide availability was selection and price. Personally, I was okay with visiting liquor stores within the state-run hours in order to have a better selection and pay a bit less. Sure, it was a bummer if you wanted something after hours, but we were all used to "stocking up" within the proper time frames. All in all, I suppose it balances out. Costco is sure happy though. I was admittedly one of the many who fell for the hype of having the liquor that I wanted to purchase more easily at my fingertips and with the freedom for private sellers to get more creative in what they carried. It just didn't work out that way. Not at all.

To answer the question in the OP, state-run liquor sales started out as a values thing. As a society, most would generally agree that liquor (being more potent than wine or beer) is a controlled substance for a good reason. Limiting/monitoring distribution through a government body was most certainly meant, initially, to encourage responsible consumption of the product. Whether that ever made any difference, or whether those rules apply today or not, that's still certainly where it originated. Today, you can bet that is has much more to do with state income than it does with health, safety, and wellbeing. Though I can tell you as a WA voter than there was plenty of campaigning regarding the latter (people opposed to the initiative due to safety/access concerns).
I don't agree with this at all. Before Washington went private there was a lot of people coming over to Idaho to buy liquor, because it was cheaper even though we have state run liquor stores. We have one in Stateline Idaho right across the state border with Washington that was always really busy with lots of washington plates. Now I and everybody I know go to Washington to the Wines and more store in Spokane valley. Huge selection and about 10% cheaper then Idaho. And those big taxes that were part of the original change over will be lowered over time, or are supposed to.
 
Old 02-13-2016, 06:06 PM
 
33,046 posts, read 21,952,602 times
Reputation: 8962
Quote:
Originally Posted by TKO View Post
I've never heard anything positive about state run liquor stores or that model though I'm sure there are arguments for them. My state doesn't have them but I have been to states that do. I wasn't impressed and my limited experience with residents of those states (UT, VA) don't like the limited hours and high prices.

Why do they exist and why isn't it an election issue in states that do? It seems like it's a holdover from the past like the old Sunday blue laws.

I saw a post referring to them in another thread and it seemed like it might be interesting.

In the 18th (?) Amendment, repealing Prohibition, Congress gave the states the power to regulate alcoholic beverages. Since there was plenty of lead time before enough states ratified the Amendment, states had time to plan in advance their regulatory strategies, and most states adopted a "Liquor Control Commission" to implement new laws regarding alcoholic beverages. Typically, liquor is regulated more tightly than beer and wine, with beer and wine in many states available outside of state-run liquor stores.

States don't like to give up control of liquor distribution and sales because significant tax revenue is involved.

In Washington state, voters privatized liquor sales through a retailer-sponsored ballot initiative and it turned out that retailers gained a lot of new sales but consumers didn't really save money on liquor because the proposal was written to maintain the state tax take.
 
Old 02-13-2016, 11:07 PM
 
Location: Pacific Beach/San Diego
3,649 posts, read 2,456,702 times
Reputation: 3637
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerania View Post
I've had the pleasure of living in both Pennsylvania and North Carolina. In my opinion, PA is worse. You're not only stuck buying wine and liquor at the state store, beer is sold by the case by a beer distributor. If you want a six pack, you buy it at an inflated price from a bar. There are exception, but you can't find them everywhere.
You're paying an inflated price for a six pack no matter what.

I miss Pennsylvania beer distributors so much. Only place I can find case beer in California is Costco where the selection is beyond limited. Otherwise you're buying six packs which is pushing the good beers towards $40 for the equivalent of a case and $30+ for two twelve-packs. Over half of Costco's selection are variety packs where I don't want half of the beers. To go into a Pennsylvania beer distributor and have a selection of cases that rivals the selection of six packs in most California liquor stores was wonderful. Now I'm forced to either pay way too much or buy stuff that I don't want to get what I do.
 
Old 02-15-2016, 09:36 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, USVI - Seattle, WA - Gulf Coast, TX
811 posts, read 722,462 times
Reputation: 2290
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyngawf View Post
I don't agree with this at all. Before Washington went private there was a lot of people coming over to Idaho to buy liquor, because it was cheaper even though we have state run liquor stores. We have one in Stateline Idaho right across the state border with Washington that was always really busy with lots of washington plates. Now I and everybody I know go to Washington to the Wines and more store in Spokane valley. Huge selection and about 10% cheaper then Idaho. And those big taxes that were part of the original change over will be lowered over time, or are supposed to.
I don't know what to tell you, but if you think I'm that bad at my own math, then did you click on the WA Post article? I'm not wrong. I'm not near the Idaho border, so I don't know what the deal is with Idaho liquor, but I do know that I pay more for liquor and I have kept a very close eye on the data as it's all unfolded. Stores like "Wine World" and "Wines and More" are GREAT. I totally agree with that! They DO have a better selection than the state stores did and that's awesome. Not only do they have wonderful selections, but because they are businesses that are designed exclusively to sell alcohol, they definitely have the ability to pass some wholesale savings down to the consumer, more so than a grocery store (who is dealing with higher costs, in shrink and security, just for a start), BUT they are not everywhere. As I said, it requires a "trek" to find the selection that we used to have in the state-run stores, which were in virtually every, little city. A liquor store was 5 minutes away, now a Wine World is 40 minutes away. It is more expensive though, for sure, whether that is meant to change in terms of the tax rate over time or not. It DID become more expensive at all standard retailers with the changeover, right away. There's no doubt about it. Sorry, to say it's cheaper now is totally incorrect. Again, I'm not even saying that it's better or worse now, but facts are facts. Read the article I sited, or others.
 
Old 02-15-2016, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
10,577 posts, read 7,241,076 times
Reputation: 37457
I can speak to my local liquor store in Minnesota - it's not owned by the state but by the city. Same principle.

Why does the city run it? It's a source of revenue. It actually takes money to make the city run. And it's very profitable. Of the 11 city-owned munis in the southeast portion of the state, it has by far the highest revenues. Into the general fund for the city go revenues above costs. Another $20,000 is mandated annually to fund various local programs educating youth about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

Oh, and competition? There's a private liquor store in the next town over, 2.5 miles/5 minutes away (I just google-mapped it), so effectively it's not a monopoly. And, no, the private liquor store isn't any cheaper. They like making a profit, too, you know. As for hours? State law allows liquor stores to be open from 8 am - 10 pm, Monday thru Saturday. Ours doesn't open until 9 am. Are you really going to tell me that it's a burden because you can't buy a bottle of Jack at 8:05 am?

What's the problem?
 
Old 02-15-2016, 04:54 PM
 
Location: North Carolina
2,859 posts, read 1,983,384 times
Reputation: 5747
Quote:
Originally Posted by TKO View Post
That makes sense to a point, but don't they limit sales overall by having fewer outlets and not being open as many hours?

It would be interesting to see revenue numbers comparing states that allow private stores (by virtue of a hard to get, expensive and somewhat rare liquor license) vs state run. There's some stuff out there, I found a Forbes editorial that was good at ripping apart the Pennsylvania model for common sense things like selection and price (much better on both counts in Jersey) but not a direct revenue comparison. Government, of course, could always just raise taxes if revenues fell short.

I don't really get how the people of the those states that have them ever thought they would be a good idea in the first place. Government is great at a lot of things (I retired from a career in local government) but selling stuff isn't one of them.
While part of me likes the idea of the free market and liquor sales being privatized, there's a huge negative aspect that hasn't been brought up.

With a state run ABC (or whatever a particular state calls them), there's typically a professional board who deals with management, selection, property maintenance, security, etc., who at least have some professional acumen, and are regulated to keep their way of doing things in line with regulating a controlled substance in a responsible manner.

Privately, the licensing does exist, but it's more loosely supervised. With that comes a greater risk of people on the fringes running liquor stores which become a blight (i.e. hotspot for criminal activity) on the neighborhoods they are in, which happens more often in poor, vulnerable, already blighted neighborhoods. If you want an example of this, just pick out somewhere that's struggling in a state that allows private sales, like Detroit, MI or East Saint Louis, IL, go to maps.google.com, type in "Liquor Stores in -----", and look at the street views of these. What you'll see with poorly maintained liquor stores isn't exactly a scene that's going to stabilize these neighborhoods, and I seriously doubt most of the privatization proponents would want to live next to one of these. But opening the floodgate allowing these clearly leads to a larger concentration of these in neighborhoods that lack the political capital to push them off to another area, like the middle and upper income neighborhoods can do.

At least with the state owned stores, the boards are appointed by local elected officials, whose feet will be held to the fire by voters to make sure they're run correctly (unlike "fly by night Bubba" at Bubba's Liquor Store), so while it may not be a perfect system, there's some accountability to make sure the store and security isn't being run incompetently, and they're not concentrated in the poor or minority neighborhoods.

Here's an interesting thesis that supports the connection between a concentration of liquor stores in poor neighborhoods and urban blight and crime:

http://www.colgate.edu/portaldata/im...obmktpaper.pdf

Last edited by Jowel; 02-15-2016 at 05:17 PM..
 
Old 02-15-2016, 05:09 PM
TKO TKO started this thread
 
Location: On the Border
2,903 posts, read 3,078,879 times
Reputation: 2403
Uhm, at 8:05 it's more likely to be champagne for mimosas or vodka for bloody marys or even red beer. Unless I'm out fishing, then jack in my coffee might just do. Really I was mentioning hours more as it relates to sales (more hours more sales more revenue) than to personal availability. Someone will be buying something at 8:05 if you sell it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jowel View Post
With a state run ABC (or whatever a particular state calls them), there's typically a professional board who deals with management, selection, property maintenance, security, etc., who at least have some professional acumen, and are regulated to keep their way of doing things in line with regulating a controlled substance in a responsible manner.
Good point. Convenience stores sell liquor here and in the bad parts of Albq you would probably find some of that correlation. Nothing like more urban areas that larger cities in other states would have though.

As for revenue, they're going to get what it takes to pay for operations. Everyone always compares Texas favorably to New Mexico by saying Texas has no state income tax. Well their property taxes are through the roof compared to ours.
 
Old 02-15-2016, 09:35 PM
 
366 posts, read 298,175 times
Reputation: 806
I lived in Utah for about 18 months and talk about a place with a stranglehold on liquor..not for the faint of heart.

I lived in Orem (near Provo, and about 30 minutes south of Salt Lake city) and there was ONE liquor store in town, tucked away inconveniently in a very small shopping center. In fact,the neighboring businesses that shared the shopping center were displayed on the street sign...but strangely, the liquor store wasn't...hmmm?

It was only open Monday-Saturday and from 11 am-7pm...hours when most people are working. I am a wine drinker, so of course this was the only place to purchase it, since wine is not sold in grocery Stores. The taxes and just the price of everything in there was outrageous...lol.

When you would cross over into Nevada at Wendover...there was a liquor store right on the border that was rooted a bit more in reality.
 
Old 04-02-2016, 08:22 PM
 
2,186 posts, read 2,098,909 times
Reputation: 3883
The time I worked in Pennsylvania I was hopping from gas station to gas station trying to find beer. I was always use to grabbing a single. I finally asked were does one get beer around here? The reply was "the story" and directions to a distributer. So I walk into the distributer and it was like who are these people? Go big or go home I guess! All I want is a Miller but I have to buy 30 cans of it...

I walked out back-heavy with 24 bottles of microbrew and the thought of "I hope I like this modcut."

Last edited by Beretta; 04-24-2016 at 06:08 AM.. Reason: language
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Closed Thread

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Food and Drink > Alcoholic Beverages
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:00 AM.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top