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

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Departing mayor’s locally drawn portrait joins city’s pantheon

Artist Elizabeth Person’s portrait of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will hang with others at City Hall.

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, today’s female Boeing engineers break the silence about an embarrassing past.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Most Read