Ore. liquor stores fear grocery store competition

MEDFORD, Ore. — Some Oregon liquor store owners and craft distilleries aren’t enthusiastic about a proposal to allow large grocery stores to sell hard liquor.

Liquor store owners and distillery managers told the Medford Mail-Tribune that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission should tread carefully while considering whether to recommend that the Legislature allow expanded liquor sales.

“I’m not excited about the idea and hope it doesn’t happen,” said Patrick Voris, owner of Ashland Liquors.

Oregon restricts liquor sales to state-licensed stores, whose owners are paid a commission of 8.8 percent of sales. The liquor control commission has proposed that grocery stores larger than 10,000 square feet be allowed to sell bottles of hard liquor.

Some store owners fear they won’t be able to compete with large grocery chains or retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco. Craft distilleries say they won’t be able to get their products on the shelves of big stores.

“Major brands could undercut us, and we will not be in those stores like Safeway,” said Diane Paulson, owner of Organic Nation. Grocery-store liquor sales “will not be a benefit to us,” she said.

Paulson said there are 50 distillers in the state, and they want to be part of a solution that satisfies consumers while continuing to promote Oregon-based business. The Oregon Distillers Guild has recommended the number of stores selling liquor be increased from the current 248 to no more than 300.

Christie Scott, spokeswoman for the liquor control commission, said many of the details are still being discussed. She said liquor bottles could be featured alongside beer and wine bottles or could be in a separate area in the store.

She said the commission will have a better idea of its proposal by the middle of December. The agency hopes to develop a model that would allow the existing liquor stores to remain viable while opening up sales in large stores.

Grocery stores have been clamoring to sell liquor and have said they’re looking at pursuing a ballot measure that would privatize the liquor control system.

———

Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/

More in Local News

Finalists for EdCC presidency holding campus meetings

A search committee reviewed 19 applicants and recommended three finalists to the Board of Trustees.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Everett coaches reaching out to teens about dating violence

Free training focuses on a known strength of coaches: Being positive role models.

Suspected drunk driver crash in Bothell sends two to hospital

The man suspected of causing the Saturday afternoon collision was not injured.

Election results for Snohomish County school districts

Updated 2/16: Here are the returns for Tuesday’s special election ballot measures.

Scattered power outages around region after gusty Saturday

Up to 2 inches of snow could fall in some lowland areas of Snohomish County, forecasters said.

School levies still passing in 3 districts after latest tally

In the initial count, ballot measures in Lake Stevens, Marysville and Snohomish had been losing.

Power outages hit north Snohomish County as snow covers area

There was no timeline for when PUD crews expected to restore power for 5,800 customers.

What to do when you get pulled over

Don’t forget to be considerate so officers will know you are not a threat to their safety.

Most Read