West Seattle liquor sales: See who’s on the map

June 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm | In West Seattle news, WS beverages | 48 Comments


View West Seattle liquor in a larger map

Last week, WSB commenter Petert suggested we make a map of who planned to sell liquor in West Seattle once privatization took effect. Today’s the day, so here’s the map. 17 retailers – but please note, we have not directly confirmed that each and every one of them is selling liquor right this moment; we can only verify that these are the places that sought licenses – both former state stores, now under private ownership; supermarkets (WSB sponsors Metropolitan Market and West Seattle Thriftway as well as all three Safeways, both QFCs, Trader Joe’s, and Target); and drugstores (Bartell Drugs, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, each with two locations in West Seattle). Please let us know through a comment or a note/text/call/etc. if you discover any of them NOT selling liquor yet – we know for sure the supermarkets were ready to go, for starters.

48 Comments

  1. This is a wonderful day. Haven’t checked prices yet. How are they?

    Comment by Hope — 12:35 pm June 1, 2012 #

  2. Beware! I bought a bottle for a dinner tonight, it was priced as about $10.00 but at the check-out I was hit with almost a $9.00 tax & surcharge. I knew it was coming but I’m not sure everyone will have read about this? I was told it was illegal for them to list the true price. Huh?!?

    Comment by Trying! — 1:01 pm June 1, 2012 #

  3. Five within stumbling distance!

    Comment by DTK — 1:10 pm June 1, 2012 #

  4. Well, I was anxious to see for myself so I went down to the Junction cluster and checked out Safeway, Bartell’s, QFC, and Trader Joe’s. The new Premier Liquor Store’s signage said it was open, but the door was locked, with men working inside on the computer registers. The pricing is completely annoying, basically base price plus 20% plus $3 bottle tax (750 ml). Kudos to Bartell’s, whose price stickers show the price out the door, although their selection is small. Safeway and the Q have very high prices without their club cards. Each place has a different selection with Safeway having the largest. Especially grotesque to me are the giant bottle stacks at the end of the grocery aisles. I’m kind of sick about the whole thing, as I already miss the “public library” nature of the old state stores, and the diverse inventory available in single locations.

    Comment by RPH — 1:17 pm June 1, 2012 #

  5. I visited both QFCs, Target, and Thriftway. Thriftway stood out as the clear winner for selection (still no where near as good as the new junction state store) in this list. They had some local producers and premium spirits for all main categories of liquor. the QFCs had the basics – not impressive. Target was absolutely awful – I think I have more bottles in my liquor cabinet at home.

    Comment by Lou — 1:55 pm June 1, 2012 #

  6. I checked out the aisle at Safeway and heard these 2 comments from different groups of people as I was walking up: ‘They jacked all that sh*t up!’ and ‘Guess a trip to Canada is in order.’ Hard to tell since my brand wasn’t in stock but it seemed like the club card prices were around the same prices to me.

    Comment by cwit — 2:00 pm June 1, 2012 #

  7. I don’t understand all the gloom and doom about this issue. I think a lot of folks have fallen prey to the marketing by the big distributors. It’s not always going to be more expensive and I think the “sticker shock” is far less than one might guess. DO THE MATH – at WSLCB 1.75 liters of R&R sold for $24.95. That was $15.23 retail price plus $9.72 in tax (taken directly from the May, 2012 WSLCB Price List). Safeway has the same exact product on sale for $10.88. If you add the 20.5% state tax ($2.23) plus the $3.77 per liter tax ($6.60) you are still only paying $19.71 for a product the state sold for $24.95. Similar story for a fifth of Grey Goose Vodka. DO THE MATH – at WSLCB .75 liters of Grey Goose sold for $34.95. That was $26.66 retail price plus $8.29 in tax (taken directly from the May, 2012 WSLCB Price List). Safeway has the same exact product on sale for $22.88. If you add the 20.5% state tax ($4.69) plus the $3.77 per liter tax ($2.83) you are still only paying $30.40 for a product the state sold for $34.95. I realize there will be exceptions and I’m only looking at products that are on sale (and it looks like Maker’s Mark will cost a lot more than it did) but just like the occasional T-Bone steaks for $4.99 a pound – if you wait for the sales you can save some money. And then there is Costco that has indicated your price out the door will be up to 5% less than the state charged.

    Comment by 2 Much Whine — 2:19 pm June 1, 2012 #

  8. For those of you suffering sticker shock, I will be opening my private liquor store for sales later this evening. I have half a bottle of Trader Vic’s rum and about 1/4 bottle of some sort of tequila. Both about 2 years old (aged just right!). Bids are welcome.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 2:24 pm June 1, 2012 #

  9. Premium liquor has gone up by a ton. I just saw a bottle of Glenmorange 10yr going for $80 – that’s double what it was before the new laws and that doesn’t include the tax added at the register. What gives?

    Comment by Sam — 2:26 pm June 1, 2012 #

  10. I paid $8.99 for a fifth of bacardi at Safeway. Need to check the receipt to see what the additional taxes ad up to.

    Comment by Smitty — 2:28 pm June 1, 2012 #

  11. I love how proponents were selling the initiative because privatization would of course mean cheaper liquor. NOT.

    Comment by highlandpark — 2:37 pm June 1, 2012 #

  12. Forgot to mention…also checked out the selection at Trader Joes…it is a small selection but they have interesting one-offs that the others didn’t like Bulleit Rye. I personally am not overly concerned about prices…I endured that shock years ago when I moved up from California. I’m more interested about the selection. BevMo will open this summer here – that will be nice.

    Comment by Lou — 2:44 pm June 1, 2012 #

  13. I’m not too concerned about prices but am confused on why this change makes sense. I read this in the pi about current prices.
    .

    “On top of taxes imposed on consumers, retailers under I-1183 also have to pay a 10 percent distributor fee and 17 percent retail fee to reimburse the state for millions of dollars in lost revenue. Add in some profit margin and the base price for a bottle is pretty high.”
    .

    If the state is going to take a 17 % retail fee to reimburse the state for millions of dollars of lost revenue isn’t this the same as the state being in the liquor business? I mean the original liquor stores are still open or will soon be open, the only difference is that you have access on Sundays and at various (more) locations.
    .
    I thought the state was getting out of the selling business .. I guess they are, but they are still making the money on sales. Just seems odd to me. It’s like they are saying, we aren’t selling it anymore but we are still pocketing the revenue as if we were selling it.. and the whole premiss of the initiative was to get the state out of the business.

    Comment by WSratsinacage — 3:05 pm June 1, 2012 #

  14. I was at Admiral Safeway late this morning. Channel 4 KOMO ( http://www.komonews.com/ ) was there interviewing consumers in the liquor/ beer/ wine department. From what I overheard, 1/3 the people were not surprised at the new pricing and valued the convenience. Another 1/3 of consumers were surprised at the potential of paying a higher price for their liquor brand. The remaining 1/ 3 didn’t seem to care. telle est la vie, eh?

    Comment by Aman — 3:11 pm June 1, 2012 #

  15. highlandpark, I don’t recall this proposition as being promoted as lowering prices. I believe prices will be lower over time, especially as distributors have to respond to market forces, which they did not have to do before, and for consumers who shop prudently. I also believe prices will be lower as different retailers develop and refine strategies for competing with sale pricing on select items.
    Yes, the state stores had markdowns on select items, but it was never more than a half-hearted effort at discounting.
    I will be watching the various retailers’ sales flyers closely for their weekly specials and loss leaders. (Fortunately my tastes are not especially out of the ordinary, except for a fondness for Campari and Calvados.)

    On the other hand, listing the various taxes only at the cash register is a huge PITA that I will strongly encourage retailers to remedy. I always knew I was paying substantial “sin” taxes on liquor. But let me know up front, not when I am heading out the door.

    Comment by rw — 3:15 pm June 1, 2012 #

  16. Proponents were selling the initiative because the government has no place operating retail businesses, much less having a monopoly on a segment of retail. Who cares what the take home price is, that is a private matter between drinkers and their earning potential.

    Comment by Time to Think — 3:46 pm June 1, 2012 #

  17. I voted for this but never thought for a moment it was going to be cheaper-I like the convenience & expect prices will come down.If you need a bottle of something-you’ll buy it-just like folks who smoke will pay the price for a pack of cigarettes-or anything else you might name. If lots of folks start going to Canada to buy liquor(kind of doubt enough will go to make a big difference-but who knows?)-local stores will feel the pain & drop prices.

    Comment by Anne — 3:49 pm June 1, 2012 #

  18. WSratsinacage said, “I thought… the whole premiss of the initiative was to get the state out of the business.”
    .

    I thought the premise was for Costco to be able to sell liquor.
    .
    Costco funded the initiative, and I don’t think their purpose was altruistic.

    Comment by Lura Ercolano — 4:30 pm June 1, 2012 #

  19. Agree, premium liquor prices have skyrocketed. Just checked out 1.75L Tanqueray at Safeway 49.99 before taxes (with club card) so would have been over 66.80, as opposed to 49.95 at WSLCB, on special at QFC for 37.39 so about 51.65. Will be checking Costco next…..cheers!

    Comment by jwws — 4:42 pm June 1, 2012 #

  20. This is a great gesture, WSB. Thanks for doing this ! I’ll buy you a martini in return.

    Comment by petert — 4:42 pm June 1, 2012 #

  21. True Lura. I forgot they spent millions on this.

    Comment by WSratsinacage — 4:56 pm June 1, 2012 #

  22. Milwaukee’s Best Ice 30 pack is still a bargain at Rite Aid. Best tasting beer in the whole universe.

    Comment by West Seattleite — 4:57 pm June 1, 2012 #

  23. I second what Lou said, Thriftway is the clear winner right now on variety (including lots of Oregon/Washington stuff)… beating Met Market rather soundly.

    And the Junction premier store was still not open as of a couple hours ago.

    I was hoping one of these places would be carrying Alaska Distillery stuff right out of the gate but I haven’t seen any yet.

    Comment by jeff — 5:28 pm June 1, 2012 #

  24. Sam: Glenmorangie was my special indulgence, at $39.95. If you see it anywhere for cheaper than the new luxury price of $80 please post where. I hope prices stabilize sooner rather than later… I won’t be buying it at that price.

    Comment by RG — 5:37 pm June 1, 2012 #

  25. I like reading all the comments, once again I am glad I don’t drink.

    Comment by Harry Reems — 5:44 pm June 1, 2012 #

  26. Pure comedy while checking out at the grocery behind a young couple stocking up on fine spirits for the weekend; when the cashier told them the total the expletives were flying! Heck, they even had to put a bottle back so they would be under $100! Congrats folks, you got what you voted for! My Gatorade was still only 79 cents :)

    Comment by DIzzle — 5:46 pm June 1, 2012 #

  27. RG:

    There was a bottle of Glenmorangie for less at MM; can’t remember which one–it wasn’t $39.99 but it was low enough (before 23% MU that I thought, hmmm, not so bad.)
    -
    MM’s selection (scotch, WA-whiskeys and gin) was pretty good for a small display. The Premier Liquor Store spoiled me — close to home and the best selection. I hope Capeluto can swing it and bring us a decent selection in one spot. Now it appears to be a Balkanized selection and expensive for everything but loss leaders. The local whiskey is more reasonable, but it is all <5 year old stuff.
    -
    I bought a Highland Park 12 year for about $59.99 with taxes, about $5 higher than before. The Lagavulin 16 at Safeway would be over $100 with tax, $85 beforehand (if I'd bought it then).

    Comment by JayDee — 6:14 pm June 1, 2012 #

  28. Bev-Mo, the big-box liquor retailer, is going to solve this little pricing problem and probably make Costco wish it hadn’t invested so much. The only way the supermarkets back in Phoenix could compete with them was through convenience- easier to get some brandy or tequila one aisle over instead of making a special trip. Of course, another Ballot Initiative to disband the Liquor Control Board completely and sunset all their taxes should really be our next goal- since the LCB stopped our city from having late-night serving hours in bars, they’ve become Enemy #1 in my book.

    Comment by Cascadianone — 6:26 pm June 1, 2012 #

  29. The Herald did a comparison article: http://www.westseattleherald.com/2012/06/01/news/how-much-booze-breaking-down-liquor-taxes-and-loo

    Comment by Mark — 6:29 pm June 1, 2012 #

  30. For starters, grocery store selections suck (QFC, Thriftway, even Riteaid). Even worse, I’m seeing things that used to cost $40 now cost $50! That’s a 25% INCREASE!!! Way to go dummies! But hey, at least you got the state out of the liquor business!

    Comment by Karl — 7:14 pm June 1, 2012 #

  31. What I have to say isn’t going to be popular but we are pretty much putting hard alcohol into the hands on minors now. Think about it folks if you don’t watch your children and clerks aren’t honest then minors will be buying this stuff.

    Comment by Rick — 7:18 pm June 1, 2012 #

  32. To Bob Loblaw,
    I bid $2 for you to mix the 1/2 bottle of Trader Vic’s rum with the 1/4 bottle of tequila , throw it in the blender with some OJ and pineapple chunks and invite us all over…
    ( P. S. I miss Arrested Development)

    Comment by Emmett\'sdad — 7:52 pm June 1, 2012 #

  33. Emmett, dear god you’re willing to ruquila? No matter the grade of tequila and rum they should not be mixed! Clear your schedule tomorrow, you will feel like hell! I speak from experience!

    Comment by Karl — 8:36 pm June 1, 2012 #

  34. Rick, that is the least of my concerns. Kids will loot their parents medicine or liquor cabinets if they want to get high, not try to buy liquor at Safeway.

    Comment by Karl — 8:42 pm June 1, 2012 #

  35. I keep getting mash plugging up my condenser am I filling the pot too much or is the temp too high?

    Comment by thistle stair — 8:50 pm June 1, 2012 #

  36. I am disgusted that everyone is so happy to be running to every street corner to buy hard liquor. Alcoholism is rampant and destroys families. I liked the fact that you had to think twice and make a special trip before you could buy bottles of hard liquor prior to today.

    I will be attempting to buy all of my groceries at PCC (the only store so far not carrying liquor) and boycotting others. And I am seriously thinking about handing in my Costco membership.

    Call me a party pooper, but I’ve had a lot of pain in my life as a result of family members’ drinking, and I think there are a lot more “problem” drinkers out there than we acknowledge.

    Comment by Laura — 9:14 pm June 1, 2012 #

  37. Laura, thank you for taking the time to add your voice to the discussion. Yours is an important opinion as well. I am the daughter of two alcoholics, one of whom drank his liver to deadly shreds at age 44, so I know where you are coming from. All things in moderation; here’s hoping that wider availability doesn’t mean more ‘enabling.’ If you haven’t already, you might want to communicate your feedback to PCC, as both times that I have checked in with them, I got the feeling they really and truly hadn’t made up their mind, though it wasn’t clear whether that was because they were sampling public opinion, or considering other factors – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 9:23 pm June 1, 2012 #

  38. It’s 10:20. Just finished a dinner party with the neighbors featuring fajitas and a pitcher of margaritas made with Kirkland Signature silver tequila and limes from Trader Joe’s. It was delicious and value priced. Just as I expected when I voted yes.

    Comment by stb — 10:27 pm June 1, 2012 #

  39. I think the taxes are ridiculous.. thats why I will be buying my liquor at the Army & coastguard bases TAX FREEE!

    Comment by MB — 11:52 pm June 1, 2012 #

  40. STB, if that silver was that great you would drink it neat, not bury it with lime and mixer. When you decide to buy a quality spirit you will notice the difference. In price at least….

    Comment by Karl — 12:22 am June 2, 2012 #

  41. Just waking up after trying Emmett’sdad’s idea. Not feeling too well. All sales are now off.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 8:44 am June 2, 2012 #

  42. Ha! I warned you!

    Comment by Karl — 9:29 am June 2, 2012 #

  43. Buy it. Take it home. Drink it. Stay there.

    Comment by hey lady — 10:02 am June 2, 2012 #

  44. For my fellow Scotch drinkers who are bummed about price. Ordering online is your best friend until local retailers come down to Earth.

    Comment by CubanRefugee — 7:20 pm June 2, 2012 #

  45. Hmmm. Millions of judgmental passive-aggressive Northwesterners with access to hard liquor at literally every corner? I don’t know, it could get scary in a mildly disapproving way.

    Comment by ohthehorror — 8:01 pm June 3, 2012 #

  46. I went to the Jefferson Square Safeway to buy some groceries and while there, I picked up a 1.75 liter bottle of brandy which was priced at $27.99. At the state liquor stores, it would have been priced at about $34.00. When I got home and was able to decipher what was on the receipt, I found three taxes had been added to this one item…for a total of $12.51. Making the price paid $40.50. Maybe I’m odd, but I’d sure like to know what I’m going to be paying before I am at the checkout counter. I expect the stores to start displaying the FULL price, with all taxes included. In the future, I plan to take my liquor purchases to a counter before checking out and asking the clerk to give me the final price before I check out. I know all this will take some time to get sorted out, but I’m not happy with the pricing as Safeway is doing it.

    Comment by artsea — 3:02 pm June 4, 2012 #

  47. The Premier Liquor Store is still best pricing, best staff, best selection and best service. Also it’s such a nice looking store.It’s not worth running around to save a few cents here and there and they always have what I want.

    Comment by Linda — 8:17 am June 5, 2012 #

  48. Well, this is obviously going to beneficial to some, and not so much so to others. And its early in the new model’s history… so i think people should hold off on judgments. Cheap booze for common items will be the name of the game – thats “market” economics. Premium prices for the uncommon (single malts, etc.) are more likely (thats me, sadly). And for those who think the state’s still in the biz, they are: They have to pay for the clean up in domestic violence, accidents, trauma, and all the negative results of drinking… so i don’t begrudge them tax money to help go to that either.

    Comment by Kelly Berger — 6:46 am June 11, 2012 #

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