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Old 03-17-2016, 11:50 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado
3,293 posts, read 4,047,951 times
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After moving to Boise a couple months ago from Washington I am now struck in a bit of confusion, since I became so accustomed to buying high quality liquors from large retailers like Total Wine or in the supermarkets. Now, I am back to the heavy liquor regulation rules that I had back in Oregon and stuck buying from state liquor stores. So, I was wondering if anyone could give me suggestions of places in the Boise area where I can get high quality liquors, like aged Glenlivet Scotches, higher quality bourbons and ryes, etc.

I am mostly a whiskey drinker, but also love my share of rums. Where I can get a bottle of something like Burnside Below the Deck Rum is beyond me here in Boise. I am open to suggestions. Considering, Washington's recent legislation that legalized booze in stores, there has been gripes about Washington's high liquor prices. I've been told that liquor is cheaper in Idaho, but wonder with the lack of competition, being that everything is state run, if the lack of retailers will more than even out the higher taxes Washington had. Despite Washington being expensive, I was able to find some store with good deals and such. A

Anyway, I'd be intrigued to know where people get their best deals on booze here in the Boise area and where the best stuff can be bought the cheapest.
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Old 03-18-2016, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Eagle, Idaho
92 posts, read 123,047 times
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Whoever told you that liquor is cheaper in Idaho must be drinking too much! My favorite Whiskey (Maker's Mark) is almost double what I paid for it in California! Scotch, especially some of the higher end stuff is also exorbitant!

Thank goodness several of our friends visit California regularly and bring back "spirit" care packages!

On the other hand, maybe Washington's prices are more out of whack than Idaho's!

That's a scary thought!

Regards,

JR

Last edited by FIGHTONSC; 03-18-2016 at 07:57 AM..
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:38 AM
 
9,150 posts, read 7,207,884 times
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I asked this question a while back, and the answer I got was to drive to Nevada. The stores on the border can be high priced too, but if you get down to Winnemucca you might find some good prices.
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Old 03-18-2016, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
21,411 posts, read 14,352,256 times
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If you have a particular spirit in mind, ask a clerk at your fave state dispensary.
Since the liquor distributors all have connections, you could probably get a bottle of whatever.

Don't expect any bargains, except for the popskull stuff; sometimes better spirits have reduced prices when a particular dispensary over-orders, but that doesn't happen often, and they never advertise.

Another possibility for expensive spirits may be one of the high-end bars in Boise; as far as I know, they aren't prohibited from selling a bottle, but the price may be even higher, if the law requires the repurchase to be the equivalent of buying it shot by shot from the bar.
I don't know that- but for a fact, Idaho loves to maximize it's booze profits. There was a hell of a fight just to make wine allowed to be sold outside the dispensaries 30 years ago. Our wineries helped push that through, but Idaho doesn't have enough distilleries yet to have that much influence.

Even though our sole vodka distillery is the largest in the nation, and produces some of the highest rated vodkas made in the world. Too bad you can't buy it at the distillery...
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Old 03-18-2016, 04:30 PM
 
708 posts, read 1,155,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banjomike View Post
If you have a particular spirit in mind, ask a clerk at your fave state dispensary.
Since the liquor distributors all have connections, you could probably get a bottle of whatever.

Don't expect any bargains, except for the popskull stuff; sometimes better spirits have reduced prices when a particular dispensary over-orders, but that doesn't happen often, and they never advertise.

Another possibility for expensive spirits may be one of the high-end bars in Boise; as far as I know, they aren't prohibited from selling a bottle, but the price may be even higher, if the law requires the repurchase to be the equivalent of buying it shot by shot from the bar.
I don't know that- but for a fact, Idaho loves to maximize it's booze profits. There was a hell of a fight just to make wine allowed to be sold outside the dispensaries 30 years ago. Our wineries helped push that through, but Idaho doesn't have enough distilleries yet to have that much influence.

Even though our sole vodka distillery is the largest in the nation, and produces some of the highest rated vodkas made in the world. Too bad you can't buy it at the distillery...
Idaho has more than one Vodka distillery. I very rarely drink hard alcohol so I don't know much about any of the stuff, though.

I'm way more jazzed about all the breweries we're getting in Idaho. We make some mean NW IPA's in this state that compare favorably to the best.
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Old 03-18-2016, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado
3,293 posts, read 4,047,951 times
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Sorry to hear about the meager situation for buying liquor in the state. As much as people hate Washington's liquor tax, I will say I enjoyed having all the selection and every store selling booze.

I will say that I do find the beer selection in Boise to be great and respect the local breweries. However, I really am limiting my hop intake. Despite being a beer drinker for years, I pretty much only have beer on seldom occasions now and stick mostly with higher to mid quality liquors. I'm really in love with good quality Highland Scotches, Straight Ryes and a good quality 10 year + aged bourbon. I bought a bottle of Collingwood Canadian 100% Rye that was aged for 21 years in Maple barrels. It's so heavenly and for the $70 I paid for the bottle at Total Wine & Liquor in Washington, I highly doubt I could find any such deal at any liquor store. Most of the Ryes I see around are junky, under-aged and low grade stuff.. I can always find a good bottle of Bourbon, but to find a good deal on that bourbon takes some work.

BanjoMike, I am not sure what bargains could be had at bars, usually that is the last place i would go for affordable booze. If they sell bottles, I bet it will be marked up to astronomical proportions, just like buying an entire (overpriced) bottle of wine at a fancy restaurant for your dinner table.

I have no idea what dispensaries even are, but I would like to learn more about them, if this is a way to find better deals on booze than what the liquor stores can sell me.

As far as driving to California or Nevada to get cheap liquor, that is out of the question. Obviously, the gas, hotels, time lost at work and other costs will more than make up for whatever savings I get in cheap booze.

Last edited by RotseCherut; 03-18-2016 at 06:37 PM..
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Old 03-19-2016, 05:18 AM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
21,411 posts, read 14,352,256 times
Reputation: 15845
Quote:
Originally Posted by RotseCherut View Post
Sorry to hear about the meager situation for buying liquor in the state. As much as people hate Washington's liquor tax, I will say I enjoyed having all the selection and every store selling booze.

I will say that I do find the beer selection in Boise to be great and respect the local breweries. However, I really am limiting my hop intake. Despite being a beer drinker for years, I pretty much only have beer on seldom occasions now and stick mostly with higher to mid quality liquors. I'm really in love with good quality Highland Scotches, Straight Ryes and a good quality 10 year + aged bourbon. I bought a bottle of Collingwood Canadian 100% Rye that was aged for 21 years in Maple barrels. It's so heavenly and for the $70 I paid for the bottle at Total Wine & Liquor in Washington, I highly doubt I could find any such deal at any liquor store. Most of the Ryes I see around are junky, under-aged and low grade stuff.. I can always find a good bottle of Bourbon, but to find a good deal on that bourbon takes some work.

BanjoMike, I am not sure what bargains could be had at bars, usually that is the last place i would go for affordable booze. If they sell bottles, I bet it will be marked up to astronomical proportions, just like buying an entire (overpriced) bottle of wine at a fancy restaurant for your dinner table.

I have no idea what dispensaries even are, but I would like to learn more about them, if this is a way to find better deals on booze than what the liquor stores can sell me.

As far as driving to California or Nevada to get cheap liquor, that is out of the question. Obviously, the gas, hotels, time lost at work and other costs will more than make up for whatever savings I get in cheap booze.
Dispensaries are the official term for State Liquor Stores. Sorry- the term isn't used much anymore; it was the one I grew up with, so I tend to use it.

Like you, I used to drink a lot more beer than I do now, and I still enjoy one or two once in a while, but that's about my limit these days. I too like a shot of good whiskey over beer or wine these days. My favorite mixed drink is whiskey with shot of nothing on the side.

You're right- bars are going to be hella expensive for purchase of a good bottle of spirits, but they may be the only place a person can get some rare stuff without a wait. And that would really depend on the city quite a lot, too. Most towns in Idaho won't have a $70 single malt Scotch sitting behind the bar.

It's all a big money-making setup for the state. And, for the first half of my life, it was also a way of keeping a town halfway sober. Mining towns up in the panhandle were all notorious for the number of saloons, brothels, and attending fights for years, and this situation existed all the way to the end of the 1960s. When I was growing up, every larger city in the state had at least one legal brothel. Montana and Wyoming were similar.

Obtaining a liquor license became close to a racket as the laws changed.
The state severely restricted licenses to population; if a city grew suddenly, obtaining a commercial liquor license for a new restaurant or bar could cost over $100,000 easily, because the state was very slow in issuing more new licenses as a city grew. There were a lot of old bars that were purchased only for the license, not the business or the properties.

The deal is; a bar has to use or lose their license. Bar-owning families have cashed in a lot of old bars in this state because the licenses have gone up. The Mint, once the oldest bar in Idaho Falls, closed and was sold specifically for the license, which went to one of the big hotels here. Hilton or one of the big hoteliers bought it out and still own the property, but it's now just a memory and an old fading sign.

An old friend who lived down here and moved up to CDA years ago discovered Idaho Falls was due for 3 or 4 new licenses, which only cost (as I recall) about $5,000 when issued straight from the state. he challenged the state and obtained one. It cost him about $10,000 in legal fees, but he still got a bargain.

He opened up a little steakhouse, ran it for a few years, quadrupled his money when he sold the license, and moved to CDA. I lost track of him then, but I'll bet he built a lot nicer and more upscale place there.

I believe liquor sales will eventually become private. The Legislature fought wine sales in groceries and wine stores for years until all the big food chains and our wine makers finally lobbied enough to get the sales turned private.
Once that happened, the state actually made a lot more money in taxes on wine than they ever made before by simply making wine easier to purchase. Good wine prices became competitive, and everyone was happy.
Hard spirits would do exactly the same. Idaho has a lot of sober prudes, though, and our Legislature has a way of legislating against any social change. But money talks loud, and even prudes like to make as much of it as they can, so I think it's only a matter of time.
Even then, though, the state will probably limit the amount of liquor that can be purchased at one time or something similar. The prudes will always be with us, and they will always have the urge to save us from ourselves.
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Boise, Idaho
704 posts, read 638,460 times
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I just returned from a short vacation in Las Vegas with four other couples. One of them elected to drive and they stopped by Costco on the way out of town and loaded up their trunk with a huge selection of liquor. I bet they saved enough to pay for their gasoline and hotel room.
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Old 03-19-2016, 11:07 AM
 
Location: L.A.>Boise>Japan>L.A.>?
228 posts, read 570,373 times
Reputation: 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by LillyLillyLilly View Post
I asked this question a while back, and the answer I got was to drive to Nevada. The stores on the border can be high priced too, but if you get down to Winnemucca you might find some good prices.
Better prices but not necessarily good prices. I was probably the one who responded to you. Good prices will be in the box stores and your Wincos of the world in Vegas and Reno. Any store in a non-privatized state that's out in the middle of nowhere won't offer much savings over Idaho, if at all. Lack of competition and/or higher transportation costs will have an effect.

I've been working at a beverage warehouse while I try to get back in my old line of work. I could probably have a field day comparing our prices to Idaho's list. This warehouse and Costco were where I'd stock up a full case of luggage with liquor and bring back to Boise with me. I started flying Southwest regularly, so no baggage fees. I routinely saved about $75-$125 minus the purchase of bubble wrap. I didn't know how good I had it until I moved to a privatized state.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:24 PM
 
218 posts, read 151,483 times
Reputation: 171
I honestly have found that even though Idaho is state ran liquor, the selection isnt terrible.

Mix Blend Enjoy | Verify Your Age is the states site and you can search for bottles and it shows what stores have them.
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